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Saftlad
02-20-2012, 12:18 PM
Quick bit of my background so you understand where I'm coming from. I'm over 40. Always worked in an office and hated exercise, but have a naturally slim body. However, I joined a gym 4 years ago and loved RPM & BodyPump enough to look towards certification. As such, I've done a few including a full PT qualification, and indoor cycling quali, as well as RPM. I've always enjoyed the way that RPM is structured, Verse/Chorus just seems to work with my ears :o Now, as I've moved to a different area, and I've opened my eyes a bit more, I see that there are other ways of working on a bike.

However, a lot of things that RPM preach seem to be the work of Satan on these fora e.g.: Aero position, rpm up to 140, work with the music not against it.

So my question is simply, how do you get on with RPM style with it's background medical testing compared to freestyle or Spinning? If you teach freestyle too, do you work in a different way than you would with Les Mills?

I see so many profiles that seem to suggest sitting (or standing) for an eternity (>2 minutes) doing the same thing, rather than a max of 30 seconds then change position. They can't both be right...

kelwend
02-20-2012, 01:20 PM
Where have you seen that you have to go at 140RPM ? Les milles do not say that ! That is a big missunderstanding we see in most RPM instructor.
For the aero position, yes it is not recomended in IDC but there are worst things ...

RPM and freestyle can help in a process of training, the problem with RPM is that it is always the same protocole ... so after a few weeks or month you will reach a plateau and will not improve anymore !

If 2 minutes steady is an eternity for you, you will never reach anything ! When you train versus working-out you vary a lot you "workout"; to be able to really do correctly a RPM classe you need some base of training and for that you have to know and deal with longuer steady time ... 5-8-12-... minutes !
You have to know how to walk before starting running and you have to know how to jog before sprinting ...

Saftlad
02-20-2012, 02:06 PM
Ok, not 140bpm every time, but T4 & T6 are usually fast paced (until R53 when they changed T4).

From Release 52 T4 - 140rpm. Quote from the instructor notes "Use those 6 Speed Coaching Cues to help people ride the beat". From the current release T6 "Help your riders to get on the beat using the 6 Speed Coaching Cues. Ask them: how quickly can you move your legs?" RPM? Quoted 138.

So unfortunately, yes Les Mills do say to go that fast.

As for training, yep I would agree with you. However, the vast majority of participants aren't in training for anything - they're just trying to get a work-out. Show most of my participants a real bike and they'd shake their heads wondering why it needs 2 wheels ;)

When you are standing climbing for 5 minutes, the body goes into autopilot and the mind starts to wander. That's when the leaden feeling in your thighs starts to creep to the front of your brain and start shouting at you. By changing something, even if it's just resistance, every 30 seconds or so, it helps to keep the mind occupied whilst it figures out what has changed and how it needs to adapt. At least when you're doing it for real, you've got changing views/surfaces/conditions. Bear in mind that I'm in the UK and we don't have any HC climbs to practice climbing for 3+ hours :o

I'm not against spending 5-8-12 minutes on climbing (for example), it's just not something I've come across, given my relative lack of experience.

Funhog
02-20-2012, 03:42 PM
I think those of us that prefer freestyle love the longer segments because they do in fact challenge you to use your intrinsic motivation to stay committed to what you are doing and not rely on external motivation or cues (or an instructor screaming at you to constantly change) to keep you going. Focusing on doing one thing for longer periods is a skill that is not only very appropriate for real cycling as well as for fitness endeavors, but it also crosses over to every day life, whereas ALWAYS having to change something every 30 seconds feeds into the modern-day mentality of constant distraction, inability to focus, and an ADD mentality. That mentality has created adults (and kids) who cannot focus on anything: work, conversations, school, sports, etc. I find it sad. Why it needs to be reinforced in fitness classes I can not fathom. They are not doing the students any favors.

I have written numerous articles on my blog and website on why pedaling that fast in an indoor cycling environment is unproductive (over 110 for most students, 120 for more skilled students). Note: If you go to my website and do a search on the free articles category at the left, you can scroll down until you see one called "The #1 error indoor cycling instructors make." I originally wrote it over 2 years ago after having seen instructors at a large conference who were spinning their legs so fast but obviously didn't have the skill to do so (that was an ECA NY conference, but I've seen it everywhere I've ever presented in 14 years of being a Master Instructor). It was the majority of the people in the large room - and these were instructors! Many of these instructors, and most indoor students do not have the technical skills to pedal quickly; therefore they rely on the flywheel to do some of the work for them. When their feet are being pulled around by the pedals they don't get the neuromuscular benefits that they would if they were actually doing the work themselves and doing it correctly. All you have to do is get on a road bike with a free wheel and try to pedal quickly at 140rpm (or even 110rpm) and you'll see why it is so much harder outside than on an indoor bicycle.

Is it ok to pedal faster than 100 or 110rpm indoors? Absolutely. But if you are going to do it, or if an instructor is going to ask their students to do it, they must, must, must demonstrate good form. Absolutely no bouncing in the saddle, relaxed upper body, feet moving very smoothly and in control. But that is rare. A skilled cyclist pedaling quickly is a joy to watch - but it takes years of development to be that efficient and smooth. They are very elegant and hardly look like they are working, even at 120rpm. The average indoor cycling students is bouncing around like a lotto ball and their legs look like a caffeinated hamster. In this case, continuing to pedal that quickly does nothing for their leg speed (i.e. it won't improve their ability to pedal quicker) and very little for their fitness. Heart rate may be high but power output is low, so real calories burned is low (calories burned are a result of power output, not necessarily heart rate - which is counter to what the fitness population believes. They believe their HRM). Far better to slow it down to 100rpm or less for most of the class, while turning up the resistance - in doing so power output will likely increase. And then occasionally do leg speed drills while working on perfect form. This is one of those instances where the following quote is so true:

Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Coincidentally, I am writing an article for Active.com on this very subject. It should be posted this week.

Saftlad
02-20-2012, 04:37 PM
Awesome explanation Jennifer, thanks. Some thing for me to ponder

Vivienne
02-21-2012, 06:29 AM
Is it ok to pedal faster than 100 or 110rpm indoors? Absolutely. But if you are going to do it, or if an instructor is going to ask their students to do it, they must, must, must demonstrate good form. Absolutely no bouncing in the saddle, relaxed upper body, feet moving very smoothly and in control. But that is rare. A skilled cyclist pedaling quickly is a joy to watch - but it takes years of development to be that efficient and smooth. They are very elegant and hardly look like they are working, even at 120rpm. .

I'll agree.....someone who can do this is definitely a sight to see. I never saw Johnny G doing it but have witnessed the elegance of Doug Katona. Poetry in motion. Here's the thing, though.....this sort of ability isn't the same as Hard Work. It was done on a trad Spinner (circumferentially weighted flywheel) at a fitness conference (an ECA NY) and he could talk the whole time. Hell-o!

For anyone who "wonders", it's a good idea to try this on a bike with magnetic resistance like, say, a Keiser......at any resistance. There's no *assist* whatsover. You don't need to control......you need to work. You've gven this a shot, right Jennifer and KWITA?? In the real world on a real bike, I don't believe even, say, Eddie Merckx has been recorded as winning anything with a sustained cadence of >110 rpm (maybe the "Staying Upright When Your Chain's Come Off" contest......I can hack the cadence and chain coming off it's the staying upright that's the drag!!!)


Vivienne

Funhog
02-21-2012, 04:41 PM
Yeah, most experienced cyclists outdoors are still usually in the 90-100rpm range - less skilled or less exerienced usually less than 90. Sure there are those who can pedal more quickly, but even among the skilled cyclists it is rare. They will however, do leg spins and accelerations up to 140*rpm to train their leg speed, but they are drills (intervals). And they are usually done on a bike with a free-wheel.

The average cadence for the world record 1-hour race is 100-103rpm. That is world class cyclists racing for world records.

*I've even seen some coaches advocate up to 160rpm, but again, these are skilled cyclists doing them in intervals on their road bikes. Their very specific objective is neuro-muscular training so the leg muscles can adapt and contract more quickly.

Todd S
02-21-2012, 07:15 PM
Self selected cadence is generally chosen based on power level. Your brain generally sacrifices a little extra oxygen consumption to mimimize fatigue.

http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2000/07000/Cadence,_power,_and_muscle_activation_in_cycle.15. aspx

The above is a nice summary of the typical cadence - power relationship. It has little to do with skill.

I can e-mail the whole study to anybody who wants it. Apparently it was too big to attach.

Paul S.
02-22-2012, 08:38 AM
A bit of my background: I've been teaching IC for 7 years, and for 3 years teaching Group Power, the barbell class of BTS (in North America, separate from Les Mills but with similar class programs highly programmed to the music). While I don't teach or even regularly take Group Ride, the BTS cycle class, since teaching Group Power I've found myself much more closely matching my moves on the bike to the music. So to return to the OP's question:


... I've always enjoyed the way that RPM is structured, Verse/Chorus just seems to work with my ears.... However, a lot of things that RPM preach seem to be the work of Satan on these fora e.g.: ... work with the music not against it.

So my question is simply, how do you get on with RPM style with it's background medical testing compared to freestyle or Spinning? If you teach freestyle too, do you work in a different way than you would with Les Mills?...

I don't see why working with the music should be a problem in teaching a safe and effective class. It seems to me that changes in position, speed, or resistance should generally correspond to some change in the music - verse to bridge to chorus. Of course, I don't change something at every change in the music - if there is a song with no dramatic changes, I'll stay at one position, speed, and resistance. But I can no longer teach a profile that calls for a 1 minute climb, 30 second flat, 2 minute climb, 30 second flat, 3 minute climb, etc., paying no attention to what's going on in the music.


... the vast majority of participants aren't in training for anything - they're just trying to get a work-out. Show most of my participants a real bike and they'd shake their heads wondering why it needs 2 wheels....
That has been experience also. It may be different if you're in a cycling-only studio, or have a lot of serious outdoor riders. Group Ride won't train you to enter the Tour de France, any more than Group Power will help you become a competitive weightlifter or Group Kick will prepare you to compete in martial arts, but they are effective in using the music to motivate each participant to get the best workout possible.

Bozegal
02-22-2012, 02:08 PM
I'll second Paul S's answer, couldn't have said it better than that!

toffy
02-22-2012, 02:24 PM
...

Is it ok to pedal faster than 100 or 110rpm indoors? Absolutely. But if you are going to do it, or if an instructor is going to ask their students to do it, they must, must, must demonstrate good form. Absolutely no bouncing in the saddle, relaxed upper body, feet moving very smoothly and in control. But that is rare. A skilled cyclist pedaling quickly is a joy to watch - but it takes years of development to be that efficient and smooth. They are very elegant and hardly look like they are working, even at 120rpm. The average indoor cycling students is bouncing around like a lotto ball and their legs look like a caffeinated hamster. In this case, continuing to pedal that quickly does nothing for their leg speed (i.e. it won't improve their ability to pedal quicker) and very little for their fitness. Heart rate may be high but power output is low, so real calories burned is low (calories burned are a result of power output, not necessarily heart rate - which is counter to what the fitness population believes. They believe their HRM). Far better to slow it down to 100rpm or less for most of the class, while turning up the resistance - in doing so power output will likely increase. And then occasionally do leg speed drills while working on perfect form. This is one of those instances where the following quote is so true:

Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Coincidentally, I am writing an article for Active.com on this very subject. It should be posted this week.

I can just remember one.... Fabian Cancelara.

Todd S
02-22-2012, 02:43 PM
*I've even seen some coaches advocate up to 160rpm, but again, these are skilled cyclists doing them in intervals on their road bikes. Their very specific objective is neuro-muscular training so the leg muscles can adapt and contract more quickly.

??? Not sure what you're talking about here...

Neuro-muscular power was a term first used by Jim Martin (as far as I know, at least that's who I believe Coggan credits for it), but it's used by Coggan in power profiling to characterize 5 second maximal power.

http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/power-profiling.aspx

Any muscle can contract quickly. Contracting explosively (with speed and force) is generally what's specifically trained. This has little to do with ultra high cadences. It's generally trained through all out, maximal efforts often lasting no more than 5 or 10 seconds with complete recoveries between reps.

So much of what is prescribed these days starts to make little sense when examined under the basic priciples of specificity and overload.