Quick Profile: Building Blocks of Strength and Power

We’ve got another quick profile for you, the Build Blocks of Strength and Power, this week developed by Bill Pierce. This profile will enable riders to develop their climbing skills while also challenging them to increase resistance and decrease cadence while maintaining the same intensity. It develops muscular endurance at sub-threshold and threshold levels of intensity and requires as much mental as physical strength. Riders must possess patience, discipline, and focus to get through each block.

Demonstrate the concept by stacking yoga blocks for visual learners and added drama (or use risers from step aerobics). You’ll need 9 blocks; each represents 5 minutes in duration.


  1. I love your music Bill – it’s REAL music! Great sequel Lynda. I look forward to trying this profile out. Unfortunately, I teach 45 minute classes and really appreciate the recommendations for cuts, but I don’t see where to cut here…perhaps, 6 blocks, dropping one block from each level?

    1. Author

      Stormy – I’m glad that you like my music. My tastes are eclectic, favoring non-mainstream rock. Lynda’s playlist is also excellent.

      I’ve modified this for a 45-minute class by removing the first (1st block, 1st row) and fifth (1st block, 2nd row) blocks. The blocks will then be stacked as 3 on the bottom row, 2 in the middle, and 2 on top. Keeping the 5-minute warm up and shortening the cool-down to 5 minutes, it works out well for a 45-minute class. Have fun with it.

  2. OMG, This looks amazing. Love the visuals. Trying it tomorrow. Thanks for all your great contributions to ICA. I’ll let you know how it goes. Lynda 🙂

    1. Author

      The visuals help a lot. I make them very dramatic, getting off my bike to precisely lay down each block. I toy with my riders when starting a new layer and ask whether I should stay on the same level or go to a higher level, which represents higher power and intensity.

      Good luck and have fun with it. Feel free to share your playlist, especially if you play normal songs. I desperately need normal.

      1. OK Bill, the feedback was INCREDIBLE. Level 2 is when the real fun began..higher power & intensity. When I saw them start to unravel (LEVEL 3) a bit towards the end, I coached more off the bike, to keep them focused, committed and calm and assured them the finish line was in sight!!

        Yes, I used steps from our cardio room. They loved the visual. Big sweaty room after. Repeat tomorrow, different crew. 45 min class so I need to make some adjustments for the blocks.

        Thanks so much for sharing. This is a keeper for sure. Please continue doing this. Your write-up was explained perfectly which made my job easier. You, Jennifer, etc. makes me a better instructor and my peeps better riders! 🙂

      2. I think I’m pretty normal 😉 and like All kinds of music, except Country. I think these songs worked well! bpms were great!

        Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) (warmup)
        Young Americans – Bowie (warmup)
        The Stairs – INXS
        Home – Marc Broussard
        I Ran – Flock of Seagulls
        Enter Sandman – Metallica
        ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem (very fitting lol)
        Plush – Stone Temple Pilots
        Peter Gunn – Sarah Vaughan
        Blurry – Puddle of Mudd
        Kings and Queens – 30 Sec to Mars
        Wake Me – Message to Bears (Cooldown)

        The class went over a bit. Needed more of a Cooldown so next time I would add another song at the end.

        1. Author

          Lynda – Great playlist. These songs are somewhat recognizable, so that makes them normal, which is good. I use Marc Broussard’s Home fairly often. Wake Me, which was this Friday’s Friday Favorite, is perfect for the cool-down. If you’re looking to extend the cool-down, I’ve mixed Wake Me with Message to Bear’s At The Top Of The Hill. It has a similar ambient guitar and feel, but adds in wordless vocals and the sounds of kids playing.

  3. LOVE Neutral Milk Hotel! Can’t wait to try this one, Bill!

    1. Author

      Cool. One of my most memorable concert experiences was seeing NMH 2 years ago at the Pitchfork Musicfest. I had listened to their albums repeatedly during the time that Jeff Magnum was in seclusion. Since the band wasn’t touring, I had never seen them live. When I finally did at Pitchfork, it was just like the recordings. I had goosebumps the entire show.

  4. Author

    Instructors who are interested in doing this Quick Profile but are intimidated by it, thinking that their riders couldn’t stay in 1 position for 5 minutes straight or go hard for 45 consecutive minutes, should try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. They will develop the patience, discipline, and focus required for climbing.
    If you’re wondering how to coach the 5 minute blocks, I pick one thing to focus on for each of the first 7 blocks. They include breathing, pedal stroke, form, etc. Just one thing per block. For the final 2 blocks, all that they can focus on is finishing: 10 minutes at threshold is really challenging, especially after riding 35 minutes straight at sub-threshold levels.
    This is one of my favorite rides and I hope it becomes other instructors’ favorite as well. Please suggest some 5 minute songs that will fit, preferably ones that normal people may know. As seen from the accompanying playlist, my musical taste is anything but normal.

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