Back in the day I used to teach Spinning®. I almost always taught at 6:00am. Like working out for anyone, getting out of bed well before the sun rises wasn't always easy, but was always worth it. Always.
I loved teaching, and had a core group of "usuals" that were completely devoted. I don't teach anymore, but still rely on a Spinning bike for a good workout - especially on the days I have to get my workout done inside.
I'm a huge advocate of interval workouts. A Spinning class is the perfect environment for intervals. Most good instructors (including my faves at CAC...David, Mandy, Marty and Chris to name a few) are skilled in structuring a workout that will elevate and decrease heart rates intermittently. If you love Spinning, you know you'll never get as great of a workout as you could with an instructor. But if it's one of those days where you can't fit a class into your schedule, this workout provides a little guidance and a lot of challenge.
A Word About Heart Rates
I've done the Spinning workout below many times. It's easy to measure the time by looking at your watch or a clock on the wall, but measuring your intensity is something entirely different. This is where a heart rate monitor comes in really handy. If you've got one, wear it. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you can used perceived exertion or pulse measurement. An easy method of perceived exertion is this: 10 is the hardest you can push yourself; 1 is no effort.
As a general rule of thumb, your maximum heart rate is 220 - your age. For instance, a 30-year-old would have a max heart rate of 190. Try to maintain the work intervals of this workout within 75 - 85% of your maximum heart rate. If you're brand new to Spinning or indoor cycling, I strongly recommend taking a few classes with an instructor first. You'll feel much more comfortable and know how to use the bike.
Usually, the fitter the person, the faster the heart rates fall when resting. How far do you think your heart rate will drop in these intervals?
Total Time = 45 minutes
Here is a really simple Spinning interval workout that I call "the ladder." Work interval times increase in duration, peak, then come back down. Rest intervals are short and sweet, giving you enough time to get your heart rate down before you do it all over again.
10-Minute Warm Up (heart rate should be around 60-65% by the time you start intervals)
2-minute seated acceleration; moderate resistance
1-minute rest (release resistance)
4-minute seated acceleration; moderately heavy resistance
6-minute seated acceleration; moderately heavy resistance
6-minute seated acceleration; heavy resistance
4-minute seated acceleration; heavy resistance
2-minute standing/climbing acceleration; heavy resistance
5-minute standing/climbing acceleration; heavy resistance
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