Video: Spin while they sing: The fun & fantastic "Glee" indoor cycling workout
Posted Nov 20 2010 9:20am
Whether you catch it on Fox, Hulu or a DVD, you probably wouldn't be reading this article unless you were somewhat familiar with Glee, the popular musical TV show in which a high-school Spanish teacher becomes the director of the school's Glee club, hoping to restore it to its former glory.
Lately, as the weather has grown colder and I continue to train for triathlon with indoor cycling workouts, I've found myself frequently stumbling across the weekly release of Glee. And I gotta say, although I was a bit wary at first, as a fan of music and a guy who likes to sing, I now kinda dig the show.
And so, in that breathless, stinky place where sweating meets singing, I've created the official Glee Indoor Cycling Workout. What can be better than burning calories, building leg muscles, and still enjoying your favorite tunes sung by 30 year old actresses pretending to be high school cheerleaders? This workout takes into account an average of 4 songs per episode, and an approximate length of 50 minutes with commercials. If the episode has more than 4 songs, you're probably going to hate me.
So, here's how the Glee indoor Cycling Workout goes:
1) Begin the workout by warming up at a pedaling cadence (RPM) of 80, and a perceived exertion or effort level of 60% intensity. Yes, you'll need a cycling computer, power meter, or other device to keep track of how fast you are pedaling, although in a pinch, you could simply count how many times your leg turns over in 6 seconds, and add a 0. During the warm-up, your legs should not be burning, but your heart rate should increase by at least 20-30 beats above resting level. Make a mental or physical note of the actual resistance or gearing you're at during the warm-up, as you'll need to reference this later. If you're on a regular bike, you should be on your big chain-ring in the front and a low gear (high number of teeth) in the back. If you're on a spin bike or indoor gym bicycle, simply choose a low resistance setting. Continue the warm-up intensity until the "Glee" cast breaks into the FIRST song of the episode.
2) Once that first song begins, do not change your cycling resistance or gearing, but bring your cadence up to 90+ RPM and hold for the entire first song. Fortunately, most of the songs on Glee are upbeat and will naturally inspire you to pedal faster, unless you're unlucky enough to experience a slow and whining ballad by Lea Michele, in which case you may just have to imagine an AC/DC tune.
3) Once that first song ends, do one final, 20 second, all-out maximum effort, then return to a resistance that is ***one gear or level more difficult than the one you warmed-up at***. Hold this resistance until the second song of the episode.
4) When that second song begins, bring your gearing or resistance back once again to the effort it was at for the first song, and repeat the 90+RPM effort until the song ends, then once again finish with a 20 second maximum intensity effort.
5) After that 20 second effort, return to a resistance that is ***one gear or level more difficult than what you pedaled at between the first and second song***.
6) Continue this progression until the end of Glee: the 90+rpm effort during each song to the 20 second maximum effort after the song, followed by return to previous resistance setting plus one.
7) Cool-down by spinning easy during the credits.
***note: stand and pedal at 75-80% during all commercials if you are watching with commercials, but who does that in the age of Tivo and HULU?
Here's a Glee Indoor Cycling Workout cheat sheet for review. As a bonus, I'm also including a video that will help you out if you need a demonstration.
Warm-up: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back (EASY intensity). 80RPM.
First Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 90+RPM
After First Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 20 Second Maximum Effort.
20 Second Effort to Second Song: Big chain ring on the front, 20 on the back (MEDIUM intensity).
Second Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 90+RPM
After Second Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 20 Second Maximum Effort.
20 Second Effort to Third Song: Big chain ring on the front, 17 on the back (MEDIUM-HARD intensity).
Third Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 90+RPM
After Third Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 20 Second Maximum Effort.
20 Second Effort to Fourth Song: Big chain ring on the front, 15 on the back (HARD intensity).
Fourth Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 90+RPM
After Fourth Song: Big chain ring on the front, 24 on the back. 20 Second Maximum Effort.
This indoor cycling workout is a perfect combination of fast efforts, high cadence pedaling, and slower, strength-based hill climbing that grows more and more difficult as the Glee episode proceeds. If you have your own improvements or questions on this Glee Indoor Cycling Workout, be sure to leave your comment. Finally, when motivation becomes an issue, simply closer your eyes and imagine the scowling face of Sue Sylvester telling you to work harder.
Ben Greenfield is the Renaissance man of the sport of triathlon.
He's a fast triathlete, a coach, a personal trainer, and much more more.