HIIT for indoor cycling

January 18th 2014 I decided that I wanted something different to add to my indoor cycling classes. The various fitness studios that I take my classes in run a total of 52 indoor cycling classes, with 24 different instructors. The feedback for my classes have been very positive for over 10 years. Wanting to remain 1 of the best instructors in all of the gyms that I train in, I wanted something different, something that the other 24 instructors were not doing.

After going to the other instructors cycling, spinning & vibe cycle classes, I decided that HIIT training was the way to go. None of the 24 instructors had been doing it. All stuck with the usual warm up, racing, long intervals, hill climbs, a mix of all of the mentioned. Some with shoulder drops and hovers, Letting the music dictate how the class was to be taken (another article, for another time)


High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. . (source. Wikipedia )

I was looking for something intense that would keep the average heart rate nice and high. I wanted my participants to burn some serious Kcals whilst increasing aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

HIIT was what I was going for, what I didn't account for was how difficult it was to get a track that worked for HIIT training. My choice was either a normal piece of music that I had to cycle along to using my stop watch and putting up with the fact that when it was time to go at full effort my music was slowing down and when I was asking my class full of receptive participants to slow down, the music was going mental. I then started my internet search for Tabata music. The music done what it was supposed to but unfortunately I was either faced with some bloke counting down or a god awful buzzer to tell me and my class what to do (this was my class, I don't need a recording of some other guy dictating to my participants)

I spoke with Jim who produces the music @SFI and told him my predicament. 1 week later we met and a track was played - Faster than Bolt.

I loved it but had concerns about the tempo of the track. All training courses that I had attended had set speeds for different disciplines i.e. a slow strong beat for climbs, faster tempos for race and intervals. I could not see how the class could keep up with the tempo but I decided to take it to my next class anyway and give it a try.

The feedback was great, no cycling at the pace of the music, but what the crazy tempo did was make participants work seriously hard. Psychologically it had encouraged that little bit more effort than they they had given before.

You know when you have a good track when at the end participants are coming to you asking you "what was that evil track called". I took it back as I was not quite happy, the problem with the tempo, was not a problem, as I had first thought. The issue that I had was informing the classes what was about to happen. My first attempt with the track my participants didn't start doing what was required until interval 3. I asked Jim to give me 30 seconds intro so that I could prepare the class for what was about to happen. The following week I had the track completed with intro.

I now had a track that was designed for indoor cycling, with the correct amount of time for an intro and 8 intervals perfectly timed for Tabata training

It was as easy as that :-) although Jim might tell you a slightly different version of events.

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