For Instructors

Love the Saddle

Riding in the saddle is something that road cyclists are accustomed to doing. We spend hours in the saddle and stand for relatively short periods of time. Compared to the total distance we cover in a ride, we are probably out of the saddle for less than 5% of the time. But when it comes to some instructors, they keep their class out of the saddle about 85% of the time. I often wonder why those instructors keep their riders standing. Maybe they keep them standing because they feel the intensity is higher and their class is more difficult than if they kept their students in the saddle. Maybe they are uncomfortable keeping their classes in the saddle for long periods of time for fear that their students will be bored with staying seated. Standing does elevate the heart rate quickly due to the added need to support your own body weight when out of the saddle. However, students can elevate their heart rate while remaining in the saddle with the proper resistance and cadence. Try to challenge yourself and your students to ride in the saddle for longer periods of time. Develop your coaching skills to allow your students to fully experience the saddle. If you ever watch the Tour de France on television, you can witness the beauty of professional cyclists as they race along the roads towards Paris. Even in the mountain stages, the riders remain in the saddle for most of their climb. They stand to accelerate past their competition, put a little power into their pedal stroke, keep up with the pack or take a posture break. On your next profile, try to extend the length of time you keep your students in their saddle. Use the standing movements to add power to their pedal stroke, or to pick up the pace on a hill. One note of caution, you cannot expect your students to spend long periods of time in the saddle if you cannot accomplish what you?re asking them to do. Practice staying seated. You may have to build up to longer periods in the saddle. Start with a five minutes and see if you can increase your time by one to two minutes each time you climb onto the bike. Work up to spending an entire class in the saddle with minimal standing segments for posture breaks. You?ll be amazed at how great a workout you?ll get staying seated. You will soon learn to love the saddle. blog by Ralph Mlady for 1/21/2011



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