// Indoor cycling choreography: Movement over music

by Matty Clarke

Indoor cycling has grown in popularity in recent years and is now regarded as one of the most effective methods of increasing cardiovascular fitness, decreasing fat mass and increasing overall wellbeing – and in addition to this it gives participants a real buzz! Consequently, an amazing culture has developed among riders. In contrast to the excitement that it generates, however, the basis of an indoor cycling is really quite simple; we sit on a stationary bike make lots of small circles with our legs, stand, sit, go fast and go slow.

So, how does such a basic form of exercise generate such amazing group energy? The answer is simple – movement over music (which you might know better as choreography). By layering movement patterns over music that motivates, excites and entices the riders to push themselves that bit harder, you create an amazing group fitness experience that will have people lining up to participate in your class.

To achieve this instructors should;

  1. Design and deliver classes to suit all participants levels
  2. Develop teaching skills to deliver effective and safe classes
  3. Encourage participants to develop group spirit
  4. Use music as a powerful teaching tool.

A good indoor cycle class must comprise variations of body position, leg speed and resistance. Too often indoor cycle instructors overlook the planning side of things, enter a room, press play and just ride without putting any forethought into their class. Most participants will want to be drawn into the ride, letting it become much more than simply making circles with their legs.

Effective indoor cycle choreography need not be difficult or complex, but it does need to be deliberate and planned.

Firstly, decide on your riding profile. What is it you want to do?

  1. Flat road
  2. Hill climb
  3. Jumps/sprints

Secondly, what combination of variables is needed to fit the profile?

  1. Body position – seated/standing
  2. Leg speed – slow/moderate/fast
  3. Resistance – light/moderate/heavy

Thirdly, what piece of music will fit the above combinations?

  1. Rock
  2. Pop
  3. Dance
  4. R’n’B
  5. Breaks
  6. Opera
  7. Instrumental.

These steps bring us to the point of choreographing music for our ride. The example chart below is invaluable for choreographing classes. The first column is the music map (indicating the section of the song), the second is the lyric map, the third shows the music count, the fourth the riding position, and the last one shows my teaching cues.

Once you have established the details of the song, the BPM of the music, the riding profile and a breakdown of the music, you have the plan and tools to deliver great classes that inspire participants to perform to the best of their ability.

The following two charts with full music breakdown and instructions are based on the songs are as found on the regular albums. I have added my teaching cues for reference; however, you may find your own cues better suited to your teaching style.


Matty Clarke
Matty is an I.C.E (Indoor Cycling Experience) master trainer, a national presenter and a registered group fitness instructor with an enormous passion for indoor cycling. He takes great pride in educating and inspiring instructors to reach new heights in indoor cycle.

GROUP EXERCISE, MIND BODY & AQUA NETWORK • AUTUMN/WINTER 2007 • PP6-8