Wednesday Timeless Classics: Swing Your Way Through Your Warm-up

Artist: Glenn Miller
Song: In the Mood
Album: Ultimate Big Band Collection: Glenn Miller
Time: 3:37
Genre: jazz
BPM: 81
Category: warm-up, flat, cool-down
Available: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify

I don’t use it often, but every time I’ve played it in class almost everyone makes a comment or at least smiles their approval. My population does tend toward an older crowd, but even the younger ones love it and one even told me, “You’re the coolest Spinning instructor ever!” 

“In the Mood” is the most widely known big band classic tune and has been used in numerous movies over the decades, not to mention at many a wedding celebration. In 1983, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 1999, it was included in the list of “The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.”

Swing and big band music are just so different than what most people expect and it is refreshing to hear something that you don’t hear in most cycling classes. But don’t stop with just this cool classic. I once played “Mack the Knife” in a class as a recovery for Sally, my 75-year-old former professional figure skater, who giggled out loud and hugged me afterward. 

Sure, you could use this song for a theme ride, but why limit yourself? Use it with riders who already know you well and know that you like to “jazz” things up. 

At 81 rpm, it’s a perfect warm-up or recovery song. One of its fun aspects is that beginning at 2:23, it sounds like it’s ending several times with softening instruments building to a false finale, but then it comes back. Use this to your advantage: in your warm-up where you have been working in Zone 1, stand up after the final false ending when the horns blare at 3:06 and use the last 30 seconds to raise intensity to Zone 2. 

It can also work well for a cool-down. 

If you prefer an updated remix, here is an interesting version. (Note: I can’t find it on Spotify.) It’s a little fast at 90 bpm. Personally, I prefer the original.

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