What to Teach in a Beginner Class That Will Bring Your Newbies Back Again and Again

As class numbers begin picking up in the fall, you may find you have more beginners in your classes. This, along with the beginning of the new year, is a great time to offer beginner classes. I consider a beginner class one that is for first-time riders who are usually less fit, or riders who might have taken a class a long time ago and are uncomfortable with going into a regular class right away.

If it’s taught properly, there usually isn’t any need for them to come back to this beginner’s class, and they should be able to go directly into most classes after that lesson. You will be giving them the necessary tools so they will know how to gauge their intensity in the future and modify what the instructor is asking.

How often you offer a beginner class depends on the situation in your club or studio. If you have frequent new students, then you may want to offer it weekly; if they aren’t as frequent, then monthly or semi-monthly is sufficient.


  1. I’m a new member & curious why you don’t recommend using the hover?

  2. This is a helpful post Jennifer, and an excellent cue idea from Christine! I want to get more seniors into cycle class…a beginners class would be very useful to them.

  3. I am taking myself back to being a Beginner again as i take on the instruction of a scheduled Beginner class at a new studio that recently opened here in Indy called Rally Rock Ride. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking back to when i first started. What I took away was how hard i worked and how fun the music was. Now, that i am so incredibly educated and informed due to my membership in this wonderful organization and team here at ICA, I now think, if i only knew then what i know now. I have used those memories and the education I now have about the essentials of a good foundation and planning from Tom and Jennifer to build a 4 week sequence of classes. i don’t want to throw a ton at them all at once so adding in a few tidbits each class. Hopefully keeping them coming back for the grand finale of a Talk Test in week 4.

    I’m not a jump or sprint fan either but i know riders are so thought i’d add those for week 3 but a modified intensity respecting their fitness levels. I don’t think they are going to find a lot of jumps and sprints happening at our studio based on our studio and team’s philosophy. I was planning to touch on them for week 3 but concerned about the sprints. Is it appropriate to just do a couple but at a modified intensity letting them know that a sprint’s true nature is maximum effort?

    Thank you for the suggestions above.

    1. Author

      First of all, thank you so much for your kind words. I just wish there were more instructors with your passion and eagerness to learn!

      I do think it’s a good idea to teach them about jumps and sprints. They are like the elephant in the room, you don’t want to ignore them because without fail they will encounter them somewhere. So you may as well teach them correctly!

      With form sprints, you teach them the process (load, stand, explode, unload) at a reduced intensity. You might even reach what *they* think is a maximum intensity but truly, rarely do beginners really know what that means. To them, getting close to breathless is just really hard. It’s ok though! The technique is the most important part to learn, and over time they will improve their fitness so they can start to tackle a few real sprints. Your job is to teach them that a true sprint is a maximal effort, performed at a lot higher resistance than they (or most people) imagine, that lasts 10-20 seconds (30 in some rare cases and for the strongest riders) and that it requires a LOT of recovery relative to the effort.

  4. Beginner classes are a regular part of my schedule. I have worked out my own protocol for conveying the information they will need to succeed in my regular classes. But far and away the most meaningful thing I do is this: Not long after I have set up the new students I tell them my goal for the class. I say “I want you to go home and tell your family and friends how much you learned, not how hard you worked.” Everyone in the room exhales and are ready to listen and absorb what I have to teach.

    1. Author

      This is a gem Christine! Thank you. I think I’ll post this as a separate short article because so many people miss out on the comments!

    2. Christine, what an amazing philosophy! Although I don’t lead a beginner class per se, I have notice a number of new riders as the weather gets colder, and I will definitely use this line with them 🙂

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