Spinning Themes

I will be the first to admit that I have written some random posts this year, many of which have been as a result of having far too much time to think whilst on long distance training sessions. As I have said before, when you are tiring out during a two hour plus session, with headphones on blocking out all external distractions, you have all sorts of thoughts entering your mind.

And such was the situation on Friday evening, during my now regular Group Spin class. Although I have only been attending for the last month or so I am really getting into this one, and have talked about the benefits it is giving me from my traditional endurance based cycling, with sprint and hill sessions adding so much variety to my training.

The coach of the class likes to vary it a lot, and has taken all the best bits of the ‘official’ courses she has taught in the past such as Les Mills RBM, Body Pump, etc, and mixed it into a more bespoke class for the regulars. Each class also has a theme (not just ‘pain’ although that is a very regular feature) with recent examples being The Magnificent Seven and Star Wars. To be fair some of the songs are a bit tenuous, but it does add a bit of fun to it as well.

So during this week’s effort, about the time I was passing out to the sounds of  an ‘Adagio for Strings’ remix (as an aside, I always used to think that was such a gentle song… maybe a more appropriate theme for this week would have been Vietnam War Movies) I started to think about what themes I could create myself to train in my own time.

So straight after the last session I though I would get in another hour or so on the bike . You see what has happened to me in the last 12 months, I have actually gone insane. Seriously, even the instructor looked at me like I was nuts, and it could turn out to be a schoolboy error, as she will probably try and make sure that next week I cannot even get down the gym stairs, let alone drive home.

I had a look through my iPod for some initial ideas, and going about halfway through the collection found myself on Led Zeppelin and started creating a playlist in my head. So I present to you below, the first ever (possibly) Led Zep themed spin class playlist:


As a quick explanation, the aim is to keep up with the pace of the song whilst riding, which translates as roughly one spin to each beat, so a 95 BPM song would be about 95 RPM (amazing how easily you can find info on any song online). In reality most classes tend to use electronic dance music as they tend to be more consistent pace, but John Bonham’s genius on the drums means these have a lot more variation in the tempo, which of course adds to the fun.

The first few tracks are the build up to the session, to get the blood flowing through the legs at a reasonable pace but without tiring out. Most of course have fantastic solos from Jimmy Page, which is of course a chance to sprint even faster, whilst the verses tend to allow something of a recovery period – except those I have called ‘Sprint’ which are flat out all the way through. These ones are also usually fairly short, so those I will repeat the song to get the most out of it.

The spin bikes have adjustable gears to add some difficulty, so you can still go out on those with a slower BPM. When you hit the longer ‘Climb’ songs these tend to be a much higher gear, standing out of the saddle to really push your quads and hamstrings as if working your way up a mountain. On this note I have had to commit a bit of sacrilege in only putting on the second half of Stairway but lets be honest, the first half is just too slow for this. In fact the hardest thing here was working out which songs to actually put in from my collection.

The peak of the set is Achilles Last Stand, a true monster of a song which barely lets up for 10 minutes, which comes in near the end to really make sure the session adds some value. Finally, the reggae sounds of  D’yer Maker give a bit of a chill out vibe to the warm down, something that never fails to put a smile on my face at the end of a long session. So there you have it, the first of my cycling sessions. I will see how I get on with it in the next week or so.

Maybe I need to get out more…



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