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How to Instruct a Spin Class: 11 Tips to Help You Stand Out

banner How to Instruct a Spin Class 11 Tips to Help You Stand Out

If you’re just starting out, or looking to freshen up your practice, we’ve got plenty of tips for how to instruct a spin class, so you and your class members get as much out of them as possible!

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13 Tips on How to Instruct a Spin Class

We’ll now run through 13 tips to show you how to teach a great spin class and get the most out of your class members!

#1 How to Teach a Good Spin Class: Practice Your Classes First

bike 2 teaching a spin class tips graphic

It can be nerve wracking, especially when you’re just starting out, to teach a class and maintain engagement for the full session.

This is why you don’t want the first time you’re performing a class to be the real thing! It’s likely that the way you imagine the pacing, or even the music, will be different to what it looks like in real time.

Practising will mean that you feel more prepared and confident as well as making sure that the timing and structure of the class is right. 

 

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This will also mean that you’re not just prepared in terms of the music and the drills you use, you’ll also be able to practice what to say when you’re teaching a spin class. 

This will obviously benefit class members too as your class will be a well-oiled machine, leaving more room for you to focus on motivating everybody there and keeping them engaged!

If you want to know how to become a spin instructor with the best classes, practice in front of an empty studio, with a mirror, and have an idea of what you’re going to say as well as how you’ll structure the class.

#2 Bring Plenty of Changes of Clothes When You’re Teaching a Spin Class

bike teaching a spin class tips graphic 

When you’re teaching a spin class, some of the tips you’ll need will be for preparing a class as well as how to conduct the class itself!

That’s why it’s important to remember: this is a super sweaty class! Depending on how many you teach, and how you work, you may not have time to shower between classes.

This means you need to make sure you bring plenty of outfit changes so that at the very least you’re wearing dry clothes and feeling as fresh as possible for each one!

sweating how to lead a spin class graphic

This won’t just contribute to your own comfort and confidence when teaching people, but will also make you more presentable and professional.

As we said, how many changes of outfits you bring will depend on how many classes you’re teaching and how long there is between each.

clothes how to lead a spin class graphic

However, you should make sure you have enough of everything to allow changes between classes. This might include:

  • Cycling shorts or leggings
  • Sweat wicking fabric tops
  • Sports bra
  • Socks
  • Headband or bandana (a running headband works well for this as a lot of these will also be available in sweat wicking fabrics)

#3 How to Teach a Great Spin Class: Vary the Styles of Music  

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One of the most important things you’ll need to remember for how to teach a spin class is the music you use.

Anyone with an exercise to music qualification will tell you how important music can be for the sequencing and pacing of a class. 

However, it’s important to remember that not everybody will have the same tastes in music and will like working out to different genres and styles. 

music 2 how to instruct a spin class graphic

So, when you’re teaching a fitness class like spin you need to consider what you can experiment with, such as:

  • Tempos
  • Rhythms 
  • Sequences 

Whatever you choose as the music can influence the structure of the class and vice versa.

For instance, if a song reduces in tempo at one point you can use this to bring the class’s speed down as well as use it as a marker for reducing intensity.

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In order to meet the requirements and speeds of each section of your class, you should make sure to include both slower rhythms and faster songs to get everybody going and maintain intensity!

You can check out our definitive workout playlist here, or look for similarly titled playlists on YouTube and Spotify.

YouTube is a great, free option and will include plenty of videos for you to choose from and start with for some inspiration.

For example, you could start with a video like below, and use it as a framework for your own playlist if you’re just starting out!

 Once you’re familiar with the tempos, rhythms and structure, you can build your own from scratch.


#4 How to Lead a Spin Class: Use a Timer on a Tablet to Manage Drills

time how to instruct a spin class graphic 

One of the best tips for teaching a good spin class is investing in some visual aids to help with the sequencing.

Getting a timer app, on an iPad or tablet, especially if you can connect it to a screen for the whole class to see, will let people know how long is left of each drill.

Having this visual aid at the front will also provide some fitness motivation for class members, and help you with what to say when you’re teaching a spin class. 

We’ll cover this a little more in a later section, when we discuss cues, but you can use the timer to encourage people. For example: 

30 seconds left everybody! One last push in this drill!

You need to make sure you pay attention to the features of the app that you decide to use as some of them may not be suitable for use in class.

spin woman teaching spin class tips graphic

For example, some indoor cycling apps have a voice feature for people to use individually. If possible, this will need to be disabled so it doesn’t interrupt the class! 

If you’re working with Android, a great and simple app to use is Time Rise:

 

timer tips for teaching a good spin class image

This is a simple but powerful visual to have at the front of your class. You could even colour code different drills based on intensity! 

If you’re using Apple, a good alternative is Interval Timer:

app tips for teaching a good spin class image

Though designed as a HIIT app, the timer feature is ideal and the simple design works in the same way as the one for Android.

 

#5 Be Spontaneous and Adaptable to Include Everybody in Class When You Teach a spin Class 

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Knowing how to instruct a spin class doesn’t just mean having a set routine. You also need to make sure you’re prepared to adapt the sequencing based on the energy in the room and the kind of people in the class. 

Not only will this keep the class fresh and exciting for you, keeping you on your toes, it will be fresh for class members too!

This is also a great way of establishing trust with your class members by showing that you’re willing to adapt based on their abilities and needs.

 

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This might look like adapting the actual drills or might just be an attitudinal thing where you’re more instructional or more explicit with the language that you use. 

For example, complete beginners may not be familiar with some of the terminology or language used throughout a class including: 

  • Cadence (the speed of your legs whilst pedalling)
  • Tap back (hovering over the seat to activate the glutes)
  • Gear up/gear down (increasing the difficulty of pedalling with the attached dial)

bike 3 teaching a spin class tips graphic

So, when you’re teaching a spin class, tips will sometimes be about the terminology for beginners as well as form. You can check how many beginners there are in your class to determine whether this clarification is needed.

You can also include more flat terrain in the sequence if people seem to be struggling and need the pacing to be a little more manageable.

If you’re finding this article helpful, check out some of our others for tips, tools, and trends in the fitness industry! 



#6 Plan and Mix Up Your Cues When You Teach a Spin Class

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Cueing is essentially how you communicate with people throughout a class. If you can master the right cues you’ll know exactly what to say when teaching a spin class.

There’s several different kinds of cues including:

  • Action cues (instructions about form and movements in the class)
  • Encouragement cues (how you verbally motivate people throughout class)

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  • Safety cues (this will be alerting people to form, or correcting, and reminding them of the safest way to do things) 

Another reason this is important when you’re learning how to instruct a spin class is that it will signpost upcoming drills.  

You can use this to alert people to some harder or more intense drills that are coming so that they can rehydrate or take a breather if they need to! 

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However, you should be aware and mindful of speaking too much! You don’t want to talk so much that you distract people and take them out of the zone.

If you want to know how to teach a great spin class and encourage class members as much as possible, telling them they’re doing well and using positive reinforcement can be much more powerful than shaming them.

talk how to instruct a spin class graphic

Avoid using “don’t” and use affirmative statements instead. For example, instead of saying “don’t tense up your arms and shoulders” say instead:

 Relax those shoulders everyone!

 You should also try to be as inclusive as possible and speak in a way that encourages cohesion in the class. This could mean simply changing your language to discuss the class as a whole. For example:

 Okay now let’s all climb that hill together!

 

#7 Teaching a Spin Class Tips: Seek Help and Inspiration from Others

learn how to instruct a spin class graphic 

When you’re just starting out as a group fitness instructor don’t be afraid to ask a more experienced tutor for help and advice on teaching a spin class.

Tips from them will help you to develop your practice and will promote connection between you and other instructors in the facility where you’re working.  

Generally, people will be more than happy to share their experiences and help you to develop your skills because they’ve been in exactly the same position as you when they first became a group fitness instructor!

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Whilst you’re learning how to teach a great spin class, you don’t want to ask people for their drills or sequences, or ask them to come up with ones for you. You can be collaborative without copying or taking from your colleagues! 

Another great way to take inspiration from others and keep your practice fresh is to attend a spin class yourself. 

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You can compare your classes to other people’s paying close attention to:

  • Their speech and cues will help you with what to say when teaching a spin class
  • Watching how they move around the class will give you tips for teaching a good spin class
  • The intensity level of the class and whether it differs in the same class on different days

Focusing on all of these things will teach you how to teach a spin class with variety, excitement, and engagement!



#8 Teaching a Spin Class Tips: Focus on Individuals as Well as the Whole Class

bike how to instruct a spin class graphic 

When you teach a spin class you want to make sure that you’re correcting people’s form and that you’re aware of individuals as well as just the energy of the group.

Therefore, if you want to know how to instruct a spin class where people feel both included and important, make sure your attention moves between individuals and the class as a whole. 

Providing specific advice for class members will help them get the most out of the class by making sure they perform properly. 

 

 

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This will also help to hold people accountable and ensure that they’re working as hard as possible which, in turn, will get the best results! 

One way you can do this when you teach a spin class is to make sure you don’t stay on the bike the entire time. 

You should:

  • Move around the room
  • Pay attention to individuals 
  • Offer motivation specific to them 

You can also use this time to correct their form and check on anybody who looks like they may be struggling.

 

#9 Tips for Teaching a Good Spin Class: Get to Know Your Class Members! 

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So, now you know how to instruct a spin class with this variety of attention, you can also get to know people individually to better instruct them.

If you develop an appropriate level of friendliness and familiarity with your class members, you’ll be able to use their specific goals when you’re motivating them, as well as promoting all the social benefits of exercise as a whole! 

This isn’t only one of our tips for teaching a great spin class, but a general career tip to help boost your confidence and your potential professional development.

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There’s a reason that people keep returning to the same plumber or hairdresser - it’s because they know them and trust them!  

If you want to know how to teach a good spin class, you need to build rapport with clients so they keep returning to your class, maybe encouraging others to join them. 

At the very least you’ll be ensuring there’s a great atmosphere in your classes and that everybody feels welcome with this personal edge to your teaching.

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Part of your rapport building can be to learn people’s names and learn their goals. When you go over to them, you can use these goals for tailored motivation. For example:

You can do it! Just think about how great you’ll feel in your wedding dress having shed those last few pounds!"

Feel that burn in your calves? That’s you building those muscles!

 

#10 How to Lead a Spin Class: Prepare Everyone With the Right Stretches

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If you want to know how to teach a good spin class, another important thing to remember is how you prepare people for the more rigorous parts of the class.

This is why you need to make sure you stretch with them in the right way, so that you’re focusing on the muscles that are being worked as well as the ones we naturally fall back on. 

For instance, despite telling class members repeatedly to not put pressure on the wrists and arms, they lock into position which can strain the wrists and shoulders.

shoulder how to instruct a spin class graphic

Some of the areas that are targeted the most, and need stretching significantly, include: 

  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Wrists
  • Lower back

Stretching properly will help your class members avoid injury and help to prevent the risk of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the next day.

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There’s benefits of dynamic stretching as well as static stretches for spin class members and you can’t be sure what people will have done before getting on the bike.

For this reason, you should try to do a mixture with people including some of the following examples:

 This, combined with the stretch below, will help prepare the shoulders and back:

 

 

#11 How to Instruct a Spin Class: Vary the Intention to Keep Things Fresh!

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Last on our list of tips on how to lead a spin class, is varying the aim of the class to keep members engaged!

You don’t want to be teaching the same class in exactly the same format week in week out: this will be boring for you as well as the members. 

Without variety you’ll also be limiting how much people can improve because they will increasingly tolerate certain routines and their bodies won’t have to work as hard.

 

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If you make sure you vary the kind of class you design you’ll keep things fresh and help people to achieve their goals quicker and in a more fun way! 

Below are some of the things that you could vary in order to do this:

  • Focus of the class
  • Length of the class

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Some potential additions to the class, or alterations you make to its format, include:

  • Interval workouts - you can mix hill climbs with longer, endurance drills to mix things up in the session. You can promote the class as having all the benefits of HIIT but on the bike

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  • Progressive workouts - this is where things get steadily harder whether that’s the cadence or gradually reducing rest breaks. This is equally great for burning fat!
  • Recovery workouts - just as everyone should have at least a day of complete rest in the week, you can have an active recovery workout, aimed at low intensity, gentle movements to help with blood flow and recovery time 

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  • Time - you could have a 30 minute class and a 60 minute class to add variety and encourage people to challenge themselves and move from one class to another!

 

Before You Go!

That concludes our list of tips on how to instruct a spin class. Hopefully you’re feeling more prepared now to create classes that are engaging and exciting for everyone involved!

Remember, if you’re not qualified yet, or you’re looking to boost your career with another fitness qualification, check out OriGym’s list of personal trainer courses. 

You can also download and browse our free course prospectus to read more about everything we have to offer, and details of our post-course support available to every graduate!


Written by Jessie Florence Jones

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Jessie has a 1st class honours degree in English Literature from University of Leeds and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Naturally Jessie has a real passion for writing especially about film, culture and wellbeing. Outside of writing she loves hiking, country walks and yoga, which she has been doing religiously over lockdown.

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