A little confused by words like jumps, arrow and 60” In this article, I explain exactly what my ride guides mean.

I remember how confused I was the first time I listened to a spinning podcast. I had no idea what the instructor was referring to, but kept spinning hoping I was doing the right thing and not injuring myself. It wasn’t until I walked into a real-live spin class that I began to understand what the instructor meant when she yelled out, “let’s hit the flat road”.

I must say, my guestimations when trying to interpret a ride guide were pretty accurate. That said, sometimes instructors have varying definitions for recovery rides and jumps. And below I break down what mine mean.

Warm up

As with all cardio activity, you should always warm up the muscles. You should perform your own stretches before you mount your bike, because the warm ups in my Spin Mixes are for pedalling the legs out. During the warm up, pay very close attention to your posture. Make sure your back is straight, your shoulders are as far away from your ears as possible and your grip on the handlebars is light. There should be 0 resistance on the fly-wheel as you start to pedal out any stiffness or rigidity in the joints and muscles.

Quick spin

I like to jump into quick spins immediately after the body is warm to get those legs turning over quickly (see the importance of the warmup). The resistance is at a level where you just begin to feel the tension on the fly-wheel – this is usually at a resistance level of 3 on my bike, but it would be different on all spinning bikes. I suggest you find that sweet-spot and then call it Level 3. This will help you know what a resistance of 5 or 8 is when I call them out during the rest of the ride. The cadence is usually set at quite a fast pace. It’s not quite a sprint, but it comes very close to one.

Sprint

Sprints are all out efforts. Sometimes they match the BPM of the track, sometimes they don’t. I usually indicate when they do though. The resistance needs to be at a level that prevents you from bouncing around in the saddle, so it depends on how fast you’re going.

Flat road

This ride should feel like an outdoor one on the road. You can feel the resistance (usually between a 3 and 4), but the pace is moderate. Just match your pedal strokes to the BPM. I usually select these rides for endurance.

Arrow

When I cue you to move into an arrow position, I pretty much want you to drape yourself over the handlebars. Your hands should be in position 3 but don’t hunch your body, keep your back straight and flat. Riding in arrow usually requires the same resistance as a seated climb as it’s easier to turn the pedals over in this position. This position is also best suited for endurance rides but sometimes I cheat when a seated climb becomes too tiring.

Recovery

Recoveries usually follow a tough climb or sprint. This break allows you to catch your breath and should be a trigger to check your posture on the bike. During the challenging songs we often (and unintentionally) tense up, hunching shoulders and straining muscles. The recovery track allows you to bring your thoughts back to your body.

The double quotation marks are simply to indicate time in seconds. So 30” is 30 seconds and 60” is 60 seconds or 1 minute.

Cool down

At the end of every ride you need to bring your heart rate back down, but not fully to resting. That happens when you get off the bike and start stretching. During the cool down, keep your legs pedalling at an even cadence but at a slower pace than the warm up. Don’t worry about sticking to the BPM, as the chosen track might be too fast or too slow for your pace. Go with what feels good to you.

If you want to know more about the hand and standing positions, read this post.

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