Video Review: Spinervals 101 – The Starting Line

photoThe weekend before Christmas is usually a pretty busy one.  Since I haven’t started my Christmas shopping, I only had time for a short ride inside this morning.  Perusing my DVD collection, I settled in on Spinervals 101 – The Starting Line.  This video serves as an introduction to the Competition Series of the Spinervals video library.

There are actually two workouts on this DVD – so I picked Workout A for this review.  It’s just over 30 minutes – so it was perfect for a hectic weekend (and, I admit, a shorter time period for this lazy guy who has not been on his bike as much as he should be).

Workout A focuses on “Cycling Skills & Aerobic Fitness,” and Coach Troy references that a few times during the 30 minutes.  “This is not the workout to hammner,” he says.  “That’s for another workout!”  And, as usual, Troy is accurate in his descriptions of what to expect.

After a brief warm-up, you enter the main sets.  Now, I’ll admit that I might review these sets in a different order than you actually do them.  I mean – it’s been a few hours since I did the video – and I did a number of things since then (Christmas party, fought Christmas store traffic, etc.).

Coach Troy leads you in a series of one-leg pedaling drills.  I have to say that you quickly realize just how inefficient your pedaling is when you only use one leg.  You do 30-second intervals using one leg only (with the other leg resting on the trainer behind you).  The idea is to keep a fluid, circular motion going the whole time.  Good idea – but tough to do.  I felt like my leg was doing the Tomahawk Chop every time it went around.  And the more I tried to focus on it, the tougher it got.  I suppose that – over time – it’ll get better.  Of course, I don’t do the same video often enough to get enough practice.  (Note to self:  add one-leg spinning into other rides!)

Another set focuses strictly on speed.  It’s a quick set – and kind of fun!  You do three 30-second sets.  Every 10 seconds of the set, you increase the cadence – as follows:

  • First 10 Seconds – Cadence around 90
  • Second 10 Seconds – Cadence around 100
  • Third 10 Seconds – Cadence around 110 (or higher)

I believe the next set gets you standing up – one of my favorite things to practice.  There are three 60-second sets (with rest between).  This time, you alternate standing and sitting every 10 seconds of the set.  The idea is to practice smooth transitions between the pedaling positions, so you want to maintain cadence going either way.  Again – fun stuff!

The last main set of the video has you pedaling a little harder.  This time, you go back to three 30-second sets.  You start out in big front chain ring/15 on the back (middle of the road gearing) for 10 seconds.  After 10 seconds, you shift to the 13 on the back (making it a bit harder to pedal).  For the final 10 seconds of the set, you shift to the hardest gear on the back (12) and push hard.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s not super tough – but it’s fun!

photo 2The folks at the back of the group (including the guy who probably is closest to my build (and, maybe, my age)) just might have cheated at their gearing ratio tension.  They are riding the spinning bikes and need to adjust tension to mimic the gear ratio of those of us riding real bikes.  Coach Troy calls them out during this session – and you see him turning up the tension during one of the interval sets.  Hmmmmm……all of a sudden, that guy’s pedaling slows down a bit.  Caught ya, big guy!!

Overall, the video is fun (though I do loathe the one-legged pedaling, but only because I need to improve on it).  It’s quick – and my cycling computer said I completed about 10 1/2 miles.  If you’re pressed for time, this is a good choice.  You break a sweat, work with a bit of intensity, but it’s not super hard.  In fact, much like it’s marketed, it’s a good introduction to the Competition Series of videos.

I’ll look to do Workout B before too long and report my findings.

Ride on!

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