On the 10th – 11th Dec I attended a Spinning® Instructors Course in Surrey Sports Park. It was a comprehensive 16 hour workshop covering practical and theoretical concepts that create the Spinning® programme. There were six of us on the course and our Master Instructor was Michelle Colvin.
Having been to Spinning® events I knew the basics, but learnt so much more on the course.
It all started back in the early 1980’s when an endurance cyclist Johnny G, came up with the idea to build a stationary bike modeled on a road bike in order for him to keep training when it wasn’t possible to get outside. Then utilising sports science principles to create training programmes focused around heart rate zones. He opened the first Spinning® centre in 1989 and then in 1992 partnered with cyclist and entrepreneur John Baudhuin to found Mad Dogg Athletics (MDA) to further progress the Spinning® brand. See an overview video here.
I’ve been on plenty of Indoor Cycling classes and some that were called “Spinning” classes. However I now realise those classes where after having been for a while, you start to know what the instructor is going to make you do as each track turns on. Such as putting on so much resistance you can barely turn the pedals, doing pressups on the handlebars or squatting low on the bike – all of which would make you fall off it if you tried it on a bike outside. Those are not Spinning® classes.
Spinning® classes are ones where you train in specific energy zones, getting the same quality and efficiency that a top level athlete would demand. Ensuring you reach your goals and continue progressing. So now all these signs and numbers make total sense to me:
There are five energy zones which when ideally using a heart rate monitor, enable you to work on different skills:
- Recovery energy zone which is an active recovery training session where you work at 50-65% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).
- Endurance energy zone where you use aerobic energy for a sustained period. Working at 65-75% of your MHR increasing your aerobic capacity and metabolising fat.
- Strength energy zone where you develop muscular endurance and power using heavier resistance, working at 75-85% of your MHR. Promoting muscular and cardiovascular improvements as you climb up those hills.
- Interval energy zone where you develop speed, tempo, timing and rhythm across a variety of heart rates from 65% to MHR. Depending upon if your doing aerobic, threshold or anaerobic intervals. All progressing your ability to recover quickly.
- Race day energy zone where you can test your fitness through a sustained time trial effort at an anaerobic threshold working at 80% to MHR. Enabling you to measure your progress. Ideally first done after at least 2 months of building an aerobic base.
You can read more about the energy zones here.
While we were on the course Michelle took us through a strength energy zone session and then for our practical assessment we each taught the main movements. I was 2nd to last to go and it’s pretty clear from where my HR jumped up that I was a bit nervous, combined with me teaching a standing climb which is not as easy when you have to talk and cycle!
But it all went well and I passed the practical and then passed the online test too with 98%.
I love the science and real life athlete training profiles that make up the Spinning® education and classes. So soon got onto my turbo and put myself through an endurance session where I made a much better effort at training in the right HR zone:
I’ll be using everything I have learned to plan more sessions and put myself through them. Along with going to some local Spinning® classes to learn some more and then hopefully start teaching one day!