How to Create an Indoor Cycling Drill

How to Create an Indoor Cycling Drill

Are you new to teaching and feel lost when creating drills? Do you struggle to come up with ideas for your classes?

Let's simplify the process and make teaching easy and fun.

Creating a drill starts with keeping things simple. There are many ways to create a drill and what I am going to share with you is the method I have used which has worked well for me, but it's not the only way. Explore your own ways to create drills for your classes and write them down!

1. What's Your Intention?

The first thing I do is ask myself these questions:

  • What is the purpose of the drill?
  • What training systems am I going to use to create the drill?
  • What is the intention behind the drill?
  • How do you I want my class to feel after the drill? (energized, pumped up, recovered, warmed up, happy, proud, sweaty, heart pounding, huffing and puffing etc)
  • What are they going to get out of my drill?

You always want to think about your intention behind the drill before you create it. The reason I start with the questions is because it simplifies the creating process and keeps you focused on the intention behind the drill.

2. Choose Your Music

The second thing I do is pick my music. Since music plays a powerful role in group fitness, it is important to choose the style of music for the drill to match the intention you set out to accpmplish.

How you want your class to feel will determine the kind of music you choose. Music is limitless, take a night and go through Spotify and make some cycling lists of songs that pump you up.

Tips About Choosing Music:

  • Think outside your favourite music
  • Use the classics just as much as new songs
  • Use platforms such as Spotify to help store your music
  • Avoid music that is not appealing in general. Unless you have a death metal audience, you will be hard pressed to prove your favourite death metal song works in a spin class but if it has a good beat, it could work.
  • Ask other instructors what their favourite songs of the month is. On the Indoor Cycling Teaching Ideas Facebook Page every Monday I post the question, what is your favourite song of the week. 

3. How to Accomplish the Intention

The third thing I do is I decide what training system do I want them to work on? I do this by referring to the triangle of cycling.

If you are unfamiliar with the Triangle of Cycling, here is an excellent article about it and it is from Joe Friel's book, "The Cyclist's Training Bible" which is an excellent book to read for new cycling instructors. 

Why do I use the training pyramid? It is simple and makes sense. I get to decide if the drill is going to focus on speed, strength, endurance, strength endurance, speed endurance, or power. You can also create a drill around recovery too. 

Let's breakdown a drill together...

In the ebook Pump Up Your Ride 2, I created a drill using the song "King" by Years and Years. The intention behind the drill was to challenge the legs in a standing position for the work phase and seated position for the recovery phase.

In the work phase I am pushing their speed endurance by using a challenging tension for them along with a longer interval than 30 seconds. As this is a choreographed song, I use the music to guide the endurance.

Remember, your job as a coach is to cue them to step up their tension and cadence and guide them through the ride.

  • Song: King
  • Artist: Years and Years
  • Duration: 3:35
  • Triangle: Speed Endurance/Recovery
  • Position: Standing Run/Seated Recovery
  • Intention: Use a song that flows and is steady in the beat to challenge their legs. I also love this song, it has a steady beat and a good vibe. It's one of those songs I catch my riders singing too, even though they can barely breathe.
  • Cues: Focus on the rhythm of the ride

You can get a preview copy of the edrill here

How to Create a Timer Drill:

  1. Set the intention of the drill
  2. Choose the song to match the intention
  3. Write down the duration of the song
  4. Choose from the triangle for the work phase (speed, endurance, power, etc.
  5. Choose the rider's position in the work phase (seated, standing, rider's choice)
  6. Choose the work to rest ratio intervals and number of sets (8 sets of 20 seconds work in a standing climb with 10 seconds rest 
  7. Perform a practice ride before adding it to your class playlist

How to Create a Choreographed Drill:

  1. Set the intention of the drill
  2. Choose the song to match the intention
  3. Write down the duration of the drill
  4. Listen to the song with a pen and paper and note the times in the song when the tempo changes and ask yourself, what position and intensity would work well.
  5. Choose from the triangle for the work phase (speed, endurance, power, etc.
  6. Piece the choreography together with recovery
  7. Perform a few practice rides and know the choreography inside and out before you teach it in class.  

Tip: Before randomly adding drills to playlists, make sure the drills flow together. You want to avoid putting the same style of drills back to back.

Download a free blank lesson plan template here for your classes.

If you are looking for pre-choreographed drills and timer drills, we have 2 ebooks that are full of drills ready to go in your clases. Visit us online at 

Happy Teaching,

Rachel Seay

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