keep it real by jennifer sage

Keep it Real in Your Indoor Cycling Classes

Announcing Keep it Real in Your Indoor Cycling Classes: Master Spinning® Instructor Jennifer Sage’s crusade to “clean up” Spinning and Indoor Cycling classes.

  About the Book
  About the Author
  Table of Contents
  Buy now


About the Book

Cyclists must maintain their training schedules during the winter months, but all too often their commitment drops off simply because it’s boring to ride a trainer indoors. They would like to take indoor classes, but may have had a bad experience or found the classes were more like aerobics on a bike and had very little to do with actual cycling.

Keep it Real solves that dilemma by providing suggestions on how to keep classes relevant to outdoor cycling.

Some of the highlights:

  • The instructor does it – but you shouldn’t! Thirteen popular movements that you should avoid in any indoor cycling class to prevent injury.
  • Indoor cycling bikes are different from your outdoor bike: preventing the effects of the weighted flywheel from ruining your pedal stroke.
  • Making the proper choices to maintain your on-bike form, and how to choose cadence and resistance indoors.
  • How you can maximize your climbing skills and improve endurance for your outdoor riding better than you ever have before during the off-season!
  • Learn how to periodize your training even when the rest of the class isn’t.
  • Heart rate training techniques and field tests.
  • Specific drills to optimize technique.

Keep it Real in your Indoor Cycling Classes is must-read for both cyclists and indoor cycling instructors alike. Some well-meaning instructors would like to be able to cater to their cycling clientele but they may not know what the specific needs of a cyclist are. Everything you need to know is in this eBook!


About the Author

Jennifer Sage, author of Keep it Real, is a Master Instructor for the Spinning® program since 1998, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and an avid cyclist for 25 years. She writes about indoor cycling at her popular funhogspins blog ( and is a frequent co-host on the Indoor Cycle Instructor Podcast (

Jennifer is the owner/operator of Viva Travels, a European bicycle touring company. She provides her clients with training plans for using indoor classes to prepare for epic climbs such as Alpe d’Huez or Mont Ventoux in France (

She can be reached at


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Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: Training Indoors
Your first indoor cycling class
What you’ll learn from this eBook

Chapter 2: Why Choose to Ride in a Class Environment?
Trainers are boring and not always practical
Music and energy
A great place to work on form and technique

Chapter 3: The Evolution of Spinning® and Indoor Cycling
The Origins of Spinning®
Spinning® is a brand
Other IDC Programs
Qualities of a good IDC program
The instructor’s role in leading an indoor cycling class
Qualities of a good IDC instructor
What happened to Indoor Cycling?
Author’s Disclaimer

Chapter 4: Differences Between a Road Bike and Stationary Bike
Indoor bicycle options and features
Using power on IDC bikes
Differences between a road bike and an indoor bicycle
    The frame doesn’t flex or bend
    Weighted flywheel and fixed-gear system
    Preferred cadence indoors is higher than preferred cadence outdoors
    Difference in quality of components

Chapter 5: Proper Set-up Indoors
Indoor set-up can only partially replicate set-up on a road bike
    Saddle height
    Fore/aft – KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)
    Handlebar height

Chapter 6: Movements Used in Indoor Cycling Classes
Seated Flat Road
    Proper form in the saddle
    Knee position
    Foot position
    Hand position
Standing Flat
    Would a cyclist ride like this?
    Proper form
    Common errors in a standing flat
    Would a cyclist do these?
    Proper form for jumps
    Constant cadence jumps
    Increasing cadence jumps (power jumps)
    The “wrong” way to jump
Seated Climb
    Adding resistance
    Why stay seated?
    Proper form while seated
Standing Climb
    Why stand?
    Upper body movement while standing
    Proper form indoors in a standing climb
    Common form errors indoors in a standing climb
    Raising the front end of the bike?
Running with Resistance
Jumps on a Hill
    What is a true sprint?
    What a sprint is not
    Flat road sprints vs. sprints on a hill

Chapter 7: Cadence and Resistance Indoors: Keep it Real!
Selecting cadence and resistance on a flat road
Selecting cadence and resistance while climbing
How slow is too slow?
Fear of resistance

Chapter 8: Unsafe (But Popular) Movements and Techniques in Indoor Cycling
Unsafe moves in Indoor Cycling
    Isolations or “freezes”
    Sucking the abs in
    Contrived upper body movement
    The aero position
    Riding with a lowered or with no saddle
    Popcorn jumps
    One-legged pedaling
    Pedaling backwards
    Excessive cadence
    Excessive resistance
    Using weights or bands


Chapter 9: Measuring Intensity Indoors
Rate of Perceived Exertion
Heart Rate

Chapter 10: Exercise Physiology
The Body’s Trainable Energy Systems
The Aerobic System
The Lactate System

Chapter 11: Heart Rate Training and Lactate Threshold
Common training zone methodologies used in indoor cycling
There is a better way!
Lactate threshold
How can you raise your lactate threshold?
Lactate Threshold Field Test on an indoor stationary bicycle
Protocol for indoor field test
Training zones based on LT
Spinning® Energy Zone HR % comparison with Field Test LTHR
LT Zone Methodology

Chapter 12: Periodization and Indoor Cycling
The Basic Fitness Elements
    Speed Skills/Efficiency
Advanced Fitness Elements
    Muscular Endurance
    Anaerobic Endurance
The Phases of Periodization
    The Preparation Phase
    The Foundation Phase
    The Build Phase
    The Peak Phase and Competition Phase
A Word About Recovery

Chapter 13: High Intensity Training
Five Different Types of Intervals
    Aerobic System
    Lactate Threshold
    VO2 Max Intervals (Aerobic Capacity)
    Lactate Tolerance
    Power (Anaerobic Capacity)
Some sample interval class profiles for indoor cycling classes
    A. Threshold Interval Class #1
    B. Threshold Interval Class #2: Hill Repeats
    C. Threshold Interval Class #3: Cruise Intervals
    D. Threshold Interval Class #4: Steady State LT
    E. VO2 Max Interval Class # 1
    F. VO2 Max Interval # 2 – Pyramid
    G. Mixed Interval Class #1
    H. Mixed Interval Class #2
    I. Mixed Interval Class #3

Chapter 14: Technique Drills in Indoor Cycling to Improve Skills
Cycling Economy and Pedal Stroke Drills
    The Face of a Clock
    The Generator
    Scraping Mud or the Skateboard
    Top/Front of Shoe pedaling
    Links of a Chain
    Stair Stepping, or “Unweighting”
    The Olympic Rings
    The Locomotive
Cadence and Leg Speed Drills
    Physiology of cadence
    Measuring your cadence
    The bounce test
    Cadence pyramid on a flat road
    Accelerations or “Spin Ups”
    Cadence pyramid on a hill

Appendix A: Abbreviations used in this eBook
Appendix B: References and training resources
Appendix C: Clothing, hydration and eating tips for IDC classes
Appendix D: Music and resources for downloading
    BPM vs. RPM
    Music selection
Appendix E: Would you like to become a certified Instructor?
Appendix F: Master classes available from Jennifer Sage
Appendix G: Using indoor cycling to train for a European bicycle tour


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