Ask the Expert: How to Teach Longer Indoor Cycling Classes

Most indoor cycling classes are 45 to 60 minutes long. While it’s rare to see longer rides on the regular schedule in the typical studio or club that doesn’t cater specifically to outdoor riders, they can serve as great training sessions and an accomplishment for your riders to be proud of. You can teach them on their own or use classes that are 75–120 minutes as part of a progressive program to prepare participants for even bigger events like outdoor rides or multi-hour charity events.

However, when you exceed a 1-hour workout, there are several things that need to be altered in how you design and deliver your classes.

The vast majority of participants in indoor cycling classes are not used to training for longer than one hour and may not realize the importance of pacing themselves. They may end up over-exerting themselves and might even have to quit, which may leave them feeling like they’ve failed. To avoid this possibility, keep the following tips in mind when planning a ride of 1.5 to 2 hours. I also provide seven different profile design ideas for 20- to 25-minute segments that you can break your long rides into.

(Note: Rides longer than 2 hours such as charity rides and events have additional factors to consider which will be addressed in a future article.)

Intensity and recovery  

I hope you’ve gotten many ideas for creating and coaching your next longer class. Please let us know in the comments if you’ve done anything different, and the success you have when you teach your next extended ride!

2 Responses to “Ask the Expert: How to Teach Longer Indoor Cycling Classes”

  1. Mary Hawkins says:

    I’ll be using some of these ideas in my next 90 minute class for sure! Just recently, I did something a little different that was fun….and challenging. I used the Pittsburg Dirty Dozen DVD for month-long challenge. The DVD is nothing but climbing 13 of the steepest hills in the streets of the city. I broke the DVD up into 3 parts. Each week we road a part of the video. Then, the 4th week we rode the entire 90 minute DVD. I used my own music. I also awarded prizes to those who rode the entire challenge …goody bags with sweat towels, energy bars, and hand sanitizer. They loved it and keep asking when we are going to do it again. I have a different 90 minute DVD that will be the perfect place to use your ideas above. Thanks so much!!

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