Saturday, January 2, 2016

What if all Indoor Cycle Instructors actually rode a bike?

I originally wanted to title this post, 

"What if your indoor cycle instructor knew what the #$%@ they were doing?

but then decided that was a bit harsh.

Now let's be clear, I'm talking about indoor cycle instructors not that crazy stuff that you see on YouTube or a SoulCycle class.  If I were to write an article about that craziness, I'd title it, "What happens when your Zumba instructor does crystal-meth on a bike."

No insult intended to Zumba®.  I love Zumba and can totally recognize how awesome it is for the core.  If I had a lick of rhythm and grace I'd be a Zumba instructor.

What if all Indoor Cycle Instructors actually rode a bike?

...they would understand the importance of proper bike setup to prevent injury.  They wouldn't simply instruct you on the setup of the bike all from the comfort of their bike assuming that everyone already knows how to adjust the bike.  "Set your bike up so your comfortable" would fall 'way to "Let's make sure your setup properly and that you understand how this machine you're strapped to works."

...they would understand that it's impossible to climb doing a sprint while contracting your abs.  I'm blaming Pete McCall for this.  I saw a post by Pete on Facebook about why not to "engage the core" so of course karma being the sadistic witch she is, means that one of the first classes I attend they instruct directly the opposite of this sage advice.

...they would understand that there is no way to do a "sprint" for 90 seconds at 100% of your heart rate.
 I don't even know what to say here other than, "Have you actually used a heart rate monitor?"  and if you do, have you actually done some testing.  Even with the conservative formula that Polar throws into their calculation for max heart rate I would question the ability of anyone in the general population to work that hard.  Don't believe me?  Watch this Tour de France finish line video and notice that the Best of the Best take off for their final sprint at 1:56 a mere 16 seconds before crossing the finish line.  They know they can't sprint for 90 seconds, and they time their finish accordingly.  Yet we in the cycling studio's of the world sprint for 90 seconds?  I don't think so.

...they would understand that sometimes less is more.  It's a bike, strap your feet to the bike and start pedaling. It's not complicated.  You don't need to muddy it up with too many cues to give a semblance of knowing what you're doing.  Shut up already.  That goes for the cool down stretch as well.  Cuing a stretch with so many instructions as to sound like you're watching an origami video at double speed does nothing.  The instructions were coming at me so fast this morning that had I tried to understand them I would have folded myself into a pretzel.

...they wouldn't try to stretch the lower body while sitting on the bike.  It's okay to stretch the upper body, the shoulders, traps, and neck while on the bike (you can do that on a real bike too), but standing up, folding at the waist, so that your butt is pointed toward the ceiling while extending your arms and torso over the handle bars is a no-no.  Denise Druce (Master Instructor for Schwinn) has a nice video of stretches for after your ride, and she's a big advocate for yoga for cyclists.

...they wouldn't tell the participants that you just did 18-25 miles depending on your intensity. This is especially true if it's only a 45 minute class.  Even in a longer 55-60 minute format I wouldn't tell my class that we just went 18 miles unless it was a flat endurance energy zone ride and everyone was able to keep up with me.  Add a hill or two and we slowed way down.

These were the things that bothered me the last couple of days, but I'd love to hear from you all in the comments section about what insanity you see in the cycling studios of the world.

Hopefully next week I'll be able to give you a review of my new heart rate monitor / smart watch.

~ Spinning Freak™

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