How to Choreograph a Spinning Routine

Warm Up

    Begin an indoor cycling class with a 3- to 4-minute warm-up ride that features little to no resistance, and performed at a cadence of 90 to 110 revolutions per minutes -- or the number of times that a full pedal stroke is completed in one minute, sometimes referred to as RPM. To ensure students are cycling at the designated speed, the warm up should include music that features an appropriate tempo, which is measured in beats per minute, or BPM. Beats per minute are twice as fast as revolutions per minute, so to maintain a RPM of 90 to 110, instructors should choose music that features a tempo of 180 to 220 BPM.

Main Program

    Depending on the length of the class, the main program of an indoor cycling class may range from between 45 to 60 minutes. It should gradually increase in intensity with the most difficult part of the class occurring about two-thirds of the way through the program. During the main program, instructors should lead class participants through a variety of indoor cycling elements, including steady climbs at an RPM of 70 to 80, sprints at an RPM of 110 to 120 and standing climbs at an RPM of 65 to 80. Alternate each of these indoor cycling elements with recovery periods of 1 to 2 minutes at a RPM of 80 to 90 and mild resistance to avoid excessive lactic acid build-up in the muscles. As with the warm up, instructors should play music during this time that corresponds to the desired cadence of the indoor cycling element.

Cool Down

    Every spinning class should feature a cool down that lasts between three to four minutes. During this time, students should be instructed to reduce the resistance from their bike, allowing the fly wheel to move freely. Slow the RPMs to a range of 80 to 100 for the first one to two minutes of the cool down, and then to 60 RPMs for the remaining 1 to 2 minutes of the cool down to allow the heart rate to return to resting levels.


    End your spinning class with stretches that target muscle groups that may have been stressed during the exercise program, such as the shoulders, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. To stretch the hamstrings, for example, instruct students to place one foot on the bike between the seat and the handlebars, and bend the knee of the supporting leg slightly. While facing the bike straight on, students should bend forward, bringing their chest towards the thigh that is extended on the bicycle. For optimal results, students should be instructed to perform all stretches to the point of mild discomfort, holding the position for 30 to 60 seconds, and breathing deeply.

About the Author

Kathryn Vera holds a master's degree in exercise physiology, as well as licensure as a Registered Dietitian. Currently, she works as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation, where she provides care to patients living with chronic heart disease.