It’s important to remember that regardless of workout format, an individual can control the effort level of his or her workout by monitoring their heart rate. The beauty and efficiency of the Spinning program is that all riders have the freedom to exercise at their own pace on their own bikes and still enjoy the energy and inspiration of group exercise.
While the Energy Zones are organized by heart rate ranges, you should note that heart rate range is only one part of their training (although an important part for sure!). Each zone is also characterized by several physical and mental components. A rider may attain the same heart rates with different cadences or intensities during totally different workouts.
The Spinning Energy Zones are the foundation of the Spinning program, and one of the biggest keys to the program’s success is its recognition of the importance of heart rate parameters and specificity of training.
Endurance training is the heart and soul of any successful exercise program, and a majority of your total training time should be spent in the Endurance Energy Zone™. Endurance training is the foundation upon which we build our health and performance goals. In the Endurance Energy Zone, cyclists improve physical health, increase energy stores, improve heart and lung function and burn body fat . This is where most of your students’ health-related goals lie. In performance terms, endurance training increases aerobic capacity, builds muscular endurance and improves cycling efficiency. Endurance training is also mentally challenging, providing an excellent opportunity to develop cognitive skills applicable to competition and to the stresses of daily life.
Once we’ve established a strong aerobic base through endurance training, one can progress into the Strength Energy Zone. The Strength Energy Zone™ improves not only muscular endurance, but mental strength as well. By learning to develop the mental stamina to overcome obstacles, riders learn to develop the self-confidence needed to overcome challenges in all areas of life. Taking this a step further, riders have the opportunity to find the champion within through hard work, persistence and perspiration.
Interval training helps us push past our current fitness levels. The Interval Energy Zone™ is essential to anyone interested in improving their fitness level, enhancing their performance or changing their metabolism. It is a form of training in which short to moderate periods of hard (to very hard) work are alternated with short to moderate periods of rest or reduced activity. With aerobic and anaerobic workouts, interval training challenges your body to carry and deliver more oxygen to muscle cells for short periods of intense work before too much lactate accumulates preventing the continuation of work. The language of interval training involves the words sets, training time or distance, frequency, work interval and recovery interval.
This is it; the Race Day Energy Zone™ is a chance to apply all that training to a peak performance effort. It’s the Spinning program equivalent of a cyclist’s time trial. It is the big event that all your training has been leading up to. This means that every measure must be taken to ensure that your students are primed for the challenge. If they follow these guidelines, your students are likely to be able to “peak on demand” like champion athletes:
- Preparation: Develop an aerobic base.
- Rest Prior: No anaerobic activity should take place for at least three days prior to a race day ride.
- Health: All participants must be 100% healthy.
- Stress Factors: Students should be encouraged to minimize other forms of stress in their lives immediately prior to the ride.
- Relaxation: Engage in passive activity prior to a race day ride.
Recovery Energy Zone™ rides involve riding at very low intensities with heart rates between 50–65% of maximum heart rate, or a Rating of Perceived Exertion of 1–3 on the CR-10 scale. We all know that to attain increased fitness and performance, you must train with dedication, discipline and greater intensity. What is often overlooked is that following intense training with days of recovery and rest will yield greater gains in fitness and performance. The objective of the Recovery Energy Zone is to create balance in your training plan.
The Spinning program offers live workshops on each Energy Zone that provide an in-depth examination of the training and instruction concepts for each Zone, created by five different authors with specialized expertise in their training and fields. These workshops will give you a thorough understanding of how to present training sessions in each Energy Zone and enable your riders to experience the benefits of a well-rounded training system. Make sure your riders get off to the right start in keeping their resolutions for 2016!