Music is the backbone of our indoor cycling classes and we all know how to manipulate effort, mood, and emotion through our selections. Over the last few years I have begun using music in a new way to affect pedaling form. This approach is an adjunct to other classes where I review and practice the mechanics of the pedal stroke with my riders. It is a nice intermediate step in moving students away from the extrinsic supports of cueing and music.
Before I explain what I do, it is appropriate to review some basic concepts with respect to music and rhythm. Almost all of the music that is traditionally used for indoor cycling is ”counted in four.” That phrase describes the basic rhythmic unit of the song. There are four beats that are naturally linked together, followed by another four, and then another four, to the end of the song. When you listen you can identify the rhythmic units because the first beat of each unit has extra emphasis. Sometimes the third beat of that unit is also emphasized, but usually not to the same extent as the first.
Listen to the Rollings Stones’ “Paint it Black” for a simple example of what I just described. As you listen, follow along by saying the words to yourself.