5 Things You Can Do to Help New Students in Indoor Cycling Class

Hey guys! The latest post I wrote with tips for new indoor cycling / Spinning® instructors totally exploded my blog stats. Thank you so much to everyone who came over to read it, comment on it, share it and I hope you found it helpful.

I thought I’d talk about indoor cycling / Spinning® tricks again today since it is something that I really care about, and this blog is a way to share the information I have hoping that it can help somebody one day. Hmm…I sense a new blog series starting 🙂

So you’re an indoor cycling / Spinning® instructor. I bet you were once a newbie student in somebody’s class. Remember that?

Most likely that instructor who taught the very first class you attended was pretty good since you decided to make teaching indoor cycling your job! Either way, I’m sure you remember the experience of taking the very first class, feeling weird and out of place with all those guys in cycling jerseys and funny shoes around you. Oh and that soreness in the saddle area the day after (ouch!) – but I digress.

We all once were very new to indoor cycling. Whether or not we came back to that class or indoor cycling in general depended a lot on the instructor of that very first class we took.

Now the roles are reversed and you’re on the other side of the room hoping you’re doing a good job and your students like your class enough to come back for more.

Here’s some more insider information for you from someone who was a newbie not so long ago and is now teaching indoor cycling. 🙂

new students in indoor cycling

{ONE} Have Your Radar On

Before your class begins, as people start entering the room… Keep your “radar” on. It is a great skill to be able to remember people’s faces and names, and to remember exactly if they’ve been to your class before. Not all of us have mastered it just yet – especially if the studio you teach at has 50 bikes in the room.

Do your best and try to remember new people as you meet them.

Back to that radar – it’ll help you spot the new people you haven’t seen before.

Asking if anybody’s new to cycling when you’re already on the bike and ready to start doesn’t work. Everybody knows it’s time to start. If you were new, would you say “Yes, I’m new. Can you please help me?” in the room full of people eager to start pedaling away?

Exactly.

Do your radar screening and walking around before the class. Spot them. Come up to them and introduce yourself. Ask if they need any help. Be proactive.

Keep an eye on them during the class and get off the bike to help if you see them struggling with form, etc..

That radar is called “I CARE” and it’s a shame that many instructors have it off most of the time. If yours is on – the new riders will come back. You know, because you care.

{TWO} Warn them in advance and keep it simple

We teach every day/week. Many things we do and say in the class seem natural and obvious to us, but they are not so obvious to new students in indoor cycling.

“What in the world is RPM and how do I find it on this little computer? How do I even turn it on?”

When you spot them and come up to talk to them before class, after the bike set up (see, I don’t even mention that as one of the 5 things – it’s a MUST) – go over the bike computer (if applicable) and basic terminology you use in the class (RPM, resistance, climb, flat road, etc..). You won’t have time for a lecture, but try to explain the basics briefly.

Consider changing up your cueing to “less jargon” if you have new students in that class.

Example:

Instead of:

“Gimme more of that hill!”

Say:

“Add resistance”

Remember, this terminology is new to them. Keep it simple.

{THREE} Magic Box

Let’s face it: they won’t remember the bike set up numbers next time they come to your/other instructor’s class.

They will feel embarrassed to ask for help again and will set it up themselves “by the feel”. They will end up doing it wrong and hurting themselves.

Don’t let it happen – all it takes for you to help them is one trip to Wal-Mart and about $10.

Buy an index card box, couple packs of index cards and a pack of alphabetic dividers:

new students in indoor cycling

After you’re done setting up the bike for them, write the settings and their name down on an index card and file under the letter their name starts with.

Now, I know they don’t show up with enough time for you to do all that before class. If you’re running out of time, mention this option to them and come back with that index card after class.

If they run out before you can get to them with that card, go over to their bike, write the numbers down and file. Mention it to them next time they come to your class.

{FOUR} Now about that saddle…

I mentioned being sore from the saddle earlier in this post.

Do you remember how miserable you were after the first ever indoor cycling class? I still do and it hurts to even think about it.

Talk to your manager and see if you can purchase a couple gel seat covers for newbies. Experienced riders come prepared (padded shorts, gel seat covers, tough rears 🙂 ) – new riders will not know about this “drawback” of the first class. I know a woman who never returned to cycling for that very reason.

Offer them a gel seat cover. It won’t take care of the issue 100% and they will still be sore the day after, but it will help. A LOT.

{FIVE} New Student Handout

Put together and print a handout for new students – anything they might need to know about indoor cycling for beginners. Here are some suggestions on what to include into the handout:

  • the importance of proper riding form,
  • a column with basic terminology,
  • contraindicated moves,
  • “dress code” guidelines and what to bring to class,
  • hand positions and moves,
  • cycling class types offered at your facility (junior, senior, introduction to cycling, express, 1 hour long, etc..),
  • schedule on the back for just the cycling classes your facility offers – for easier reference,
  • quick introduction of the cycling instructors on the back (add photos and let instructors write up the introductions themselves),
  • and any other information that might be specific to your facility.

What you include in that handout is entirely up to you and your Physical Director, but make sure it is a fun and engaging introduction to your club’s indoor cycling / Spinning® program. You want them to come back for more!

And that’s it, my dear indoor / outdoor cyclists 🙂

I hope you found this post helpful. If you did – please, SHARE to help more instructors make their newbies feel welcome in their classes and come back for more benefits that cycling has to offer.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Ride on!

Lean Lena

Comments

  1. Never would have thought of writing down their settings for them-great idea!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Friday Five-Favorite Race MemoriesMy Profile

  2. Yes! to ALL of the suggestions, and the file is smart!

    And I do not bike, but my husband does and I still get a kick out of his gel shorts. Or, as I call them, his Baboon Butt shorts since they have big red circles on the cheeks. At least the red is on the inside 🙂

    Farin
    http://farinvazquez.blogspot.com
    Farin Vazquez recently posted…Jawbone UP ReviewMy Profile

  3. Lena, I don’t think I’d EVER try cycling, unless YOU were the instructor, your tips, make the main goal as making the newbie feel welcome 🙂 which is so important for a first timer!
    Amber recently posted…IBS – Irritable Bowel SyndromeMy Profile

    • Amber, you’re welcome to my class any time – same place, same time every Monday – come on over! 🙂
      Seriously, though – thank you. It is a great compliment.
      everybody was a newbie one day – if we don’t take care of new students, we won’t have returning ones.

  4. I used to teach a RPM class and I loved it. It was always important to make new clients feel welcome and know they are doing it correctly.

  5. I think your first point is so important! Luckily my spin studio doesn’t use bike computers and the instructions are pretty simple (turn the knob to the right, sit, stand).
    Coco recently posted…Favorite Race RecapsMy Profile

    • I’m so used to teaching with computers – a lot of my drills are based on students keeping track of their cadence changes/keeping it steady.
      It would be refreshing to teach without computers, but I wouldn’t mind. Would just have to change my instructions and drills.
      Thanks for stopping by, Coco!

  6. i visit your site often. Long time spinner new at instructing and find your tips very useful. Thanks for all the insight I use the regularly. To a great 2015!

  7. Love the handout suggestion!! Using it!

  8. Great reminder , thanks.

  9. The handout sheet idea is FANTASTIC!

  10. Lena – I have been spinning for several months but have not yet found a comfortable seat. My lady parts are in considerable pain, even with an extra gel seat cover. Any other suggestions?

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