For All Spinning® Enthusiasts



For the last 18 months I have been teaching TeenSpin® at a Royal Grammar School (all boys school) here in the UK. I teach 4 classes per week. 4.15pm-5pm for the 14-16 year old boys and then 5pm-5.45pm for the teachers. Initially the Classes were intended to help develop the aerobic conditioning for the school's Rugby Team, but now everyone is joining in.
When the school contacted me asking if I was interested in running their programme, I recommended that they provide a stereo and headmic and also heart rate monitors. All the HRMs are set to display bmp and we have a big heart rate chart on the wall so they know what heart rate range to be in upon my cue in terms of a % of max. So I'm basically running it as a little business. It's going very well and everyone loves the classes.
TeenSpin® is taught slightly different to Spinning® and this is all listed below. For the teachers classes I teach as I would normally.
To teach Teenagers, they need to meet the minimum height of 4ft 11ins, and have gone through the 2nd phase of puberty, or 2nd growth spurt (girls 10-12 years, boys 12-14 years) to ensure bone strength and maturity. It's to do with the epiphyseal plate (or epiphysial plate, or growth plate) the cartilage plate in the long bones, e.g.. the femur (thighbone) and tibia and fibula (bones in the lower leg) of children and adolescents still forming. These long bones are each made up of a shaft of the bone (diaphysis) and end parts (epiphyses). The epiphyses are separated from the shaft by a layer of cartilage called the epiphyseal or growth plate. The longitudinal growth of these bones occurs primarily at these plates. When these limbs grow during childhood and adolescence, the epiphyseal plates absorb calcium and develop into bone. By adulthood the plates have been replaced by bone. Around the age of 17 the epiphyseal cartilage cells stop duplicating and the entire cartilage is slowly replaced by bone, and bone growth stops. In the leg, growth occurs from the knee, increasing fractures and damage in this area. Damage may occur by sever and excessive overload-stress before full growth is attained. Also, tendon complete fusion to respective locations on bone occur between 12-20 years for different sites – leading to increased potential of tracking injuries e.g. Osgood-Schlatters disease. Other things to consider is coordination and centre of gravity and balance changes due to rapid growth. To this end, the cadence range is a minimum of 70RPM and maximum of 100RPM and we don't teach the techniques Sprints or Sprints on a Hill.
Air conditioning in the studio is of crucial importance. This is because children produce more heat per kg body weight than adults, but their thermo-regulatory system is not as good. This is partly because they sweat less. Children also tend to have higher skin temperatures, which hinder the flow of heat from body core to the periphery. However, children have a proportionately greater skin surface area the smaller they are. A young adult weighing 64kg will have a surface area of about 1.80 square metres; An eight year old weighing 25kg will have a skin area of 0.95 square metres, i.e. 36 per cent more surface area per unit of weight. This helps to correct thermal imbalances, but can be a disadvantage when running in direct sun (or swimming in cold water) - with the possibility of a faster rate of overheating (or of overcooling). To this end, water must be provided for every child.
It's also important to be aware that children breathe faster than adults, reaching 60 breaths/minute compared to 40/minute in adults doing equivalent exercise. Compared to adults, children need to breathe more air to get the same amount of oxygen, i.e. their 'ventilatory equivalent for oxygen' (the number of litres of air to gain one litre of oxygen) is higher. This is wasteful of energy and body water (in the breath). Occasionally it may lead to "Hypocapnic Tetany" (HT), whereby very high respiratory rates may lead to an excess blow-off of carbon dioxide, which increases the blood pH or alkalinity, affecting blood calcium and nerve function, and leading to a degree of spasm in feet and hands, and numbness around the mouth. HT can occur in the heat, as in training and competition in summer, but increasing numbers of cases are being reported outdoors in winter - for example from junior rugby matches. The condition is not at all serious but the young victim may panic, and alarm onlookers. A simple cure is to get the child to sit down in a quiet place and breathe slowly for a few minutes, so raising the carbon dioxide and normalising the pH levels. To this end, a Heart Rate Monitor must be provided for very child.
Younger children incur less of an oxygen deficit at the beginning of exercise - i.e. they get their 'second wind' quicker. As their deficit is less, so they also recover quicker. They also have higher 'anaerobic thresholds' than adults, and in this, oddly enough, they resemble trained adult endurance runners. Children's muscle tends to use more fat as fuel than glycogen or glucose. However, for the same amount of energy, approximately 10 per cent more oxygen is needed, if fat is the substrate compared to glucose/glycogen, it is a less efficient fuel. Children also tend to utilise glycogen or glucose more slowly the younger they are. Thus the younger the child, the less efficient aerobically, they are made worse by relative biomechanical inefficiencies, in that the lengths of younger children's limbs are not completely in 'kinetic balance' with their muscles. They also have proportionately less body mass in muscle - some 28 per cent in young children, compared to 35-40 per cent or more in the late teens. On the anaerobic side, the younger the children, from about 8 to 16, the lower the proportion of anaerobic energy they can generate, and the lower the levels of lactic acid in blood. Thus, the younger the child, the less they have an built-in fatigue mechanism, and a lack in understanding RPE. Children's perception of the severity of exercise is less the younger they are. An important physiological function of fatigue is to prevent muscle damage through excessive effort. Young children, without the same early-warning fatigue system as their elders can easily be pushed in team or individual coaching sessions to the point where they are overheated, dehydrated and distressed.
Instructor requirements (in the UK):
Valid Spinning® Certification.
Youth specific qualification e.g. CYQ Trained (Central YMCA Qualification) e.g CYQ Level 2 Exercise for Children, which provides you with the certificate required to deliver exercise sessions for ages of 5 to 16 year olds.
Anyone teaching children, has to by law complete a CRB Check (Criminal Records Bureau).
Parental consent is required along with a completed PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire).
If more than 10 per class, a 2nd staff member is required to assist. 
The Royal Bank of Scotland 6 Nations Rugby Tournament starts in three days. The attached picture is the French players gathered in their National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis, warming up on Star Trac Spinner® Bikes!

Yours in Sport,

Michelle Colvin

International Spinning® Master Instructor (UK)




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