The unprecedented global pandemic of 2020 that closed businesses around the world and sent people into their homes for months has created some unique challenges for fitness instructors who are just starting to come back to the cycling studio. Some are lucky enough to have had this opportunity for the past few weeks or longer, but as of this reposting (early August 2020), instructors and studios in some places—especially in the United States—still don’t know when their classes will commence again. Whether you’ve already started teaching again or are still waiting for the go-ahead, you will have to deal with differing abilities in your classes. Some of your past riders will have been riding virtual classes (maybe even with you!) and others will be struggling to regain their fitness.
You may need a little reminder how to best handle these differences in your classes, especially if pre-covid you enjoyed a group of very loyal regulars.
Which seems like the perfect time time bring back this great 2-part series on teaching to a variety of different abilities in one class by Cori Parks, long time Spinning Master Instructor. I’ve known Cori for many years and I have always been impressed with her empathetic and caring way she connects with all of her riders, no matter their level of fitness or their experience in a cycling class.
The very simplicity of indoor cycling means that classes are often filled with participants who have a wide variety of fitness levels, skill levels, and experience. This presents challenges for instructors who strive to be both attentive to each yet mindful of all. Instructors may wonder if they’re able to give equal attention to all of the riders, or if that is even necessary. Subbing a class or teaching a regular class with an influx of new riders (typical in the new year) is a balancing act.
Fortunately, these challenges come with opportunities for all instructors to up their game in coaching to varied abilities.
The factors that distinguish riders from each other fall into five categories.