I normally shy away from single artist playlists – there is too much chance of a total miss. If someone made me spin to The Eagles for an hour, I’d be homicidal by the end of the class. But I’ve been playing with this idea for a while and while her catalog is not large (only three albums), if there’s an artist out there who can support a full spin class of tunes, it’s Her Ladyship.
I tried it with my class this week and asked for feedback. The four riders who took the time to comment told me they really enjoyed it and I enjoyed the class, too. What saves it from being too plain-old-FM-radio (I hope) are the remixes.
Hair – Lady GaGa (5:08): An upbeat warm up and one of GaGa’s lesser-known offerings. (Yes, that’s Clarence Clemons on saxophone.) Pick up the pace for each chorus and fall back for the verses.
Marry the Night – Lady GaGa (4:25): Where has this song been? It came out in May 2011 with GaGa’s latest record but I didn’t really pay much attention to it until it became a single in November 2011. My mistake. It’s a kick-ass sprinting tune. Three intervals: 30/30/30 seconds at 0:42 – 1:11, 1:50 – 2:20 and 3:00 – 3:28.
I usually coach riders to take sprints in one of three ways: standing (hardest), seated, or as surges (seated, 80% maximum effort), depending on what they have to give. They can choose which way to proceed for each interval. Sometimes I will ask them to commit publicly: “Okay, hands up – who is going to take the next interval standing?”
Telephone (Kaskade Extended Remix) – Lady GaGa & Beyonce (5:24): A combo drill here. For the first minute we are going to do 4 count jumps on a hill with resistance at 8/10. From 1:30 to 4:00 we’ll come out of the saddle to climb, reducing the tension a bit for those who need to. When we get to the last minute and a half, it’s 4 count jumps again. No cheating and bailing early – we get a full minute to recover before the next working interval.
Born This Way – Lady GaGa (4:20): More sprinting – 30/30/30. These ones are at 0:58 – 1:28, 2:08 – 2:38 and 3:18 – 3:48.
Paparazzi (Demolition Crew Remix) – Lady GaGa (3:54): Initially I had this one pegged as a seated climb with multiple tension increases but when I got to class I decided to do it as a single leg training drill: 60 seconds for each leg with a tension increase for the second set. I think I liked that better than what I initially had planned.
With single-leg training, one leg does all the work and the other comes along for the ride. I coach riders to consciously push down on the downstroke and pull up on the upstroke and to make their cadence as smooth as possible. As for tension, I advise to choose a tension that makes riders mighty happy to see the end of the interval so they can switch legs. It’s important with single-leg drills to ask riders not to remove the non-working foot from the pedal cage (some will do this and rest the foot on the crossbar). With a weighted flywheel, this could result in a calf injury if the empty pedal swung around and hit the rider in the leg.
Just Dance (RedOne Remix) – Lady GaGa (4:19): This was the first GaGa song that captivated me, and when I realized that she’d done a remix with Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall, I was, well, gaga. The original version was released in April 2008 and by June 2008 I was using Just Dance in my classes. Lady GaGa played in my home town of Halifax in July 2008 as one of the acts at the Summer Rush concert and I desperately wanted to go but had booked a week’s vacation in Prince Edward Island, a three hour drive away. I could just tell that this New Yorker was going to be huge. You know what? I should have driven back to Halifax to see her. I’d certainly drive three hours now. This one is a standing climb, medium tension (say, 5/10), just you and the bike. Close your eyes and let yourself go with the music. (For an additional challenge, don’t take a break between this song and the next to make a 10 minute hill.)
LoveGame (Chew Fu Ghettohouse Fix) – Lady GaGa [feat. Marilyn Manson] (5:21): The second half of this hill. Increase the tension to 7/10 or 70% of your maximum effort. Alternate a regular climbing stance with a more aggressive stance – hips back and up, shoulders down. You can do 30 seconds of each, or try 15/30/45/60 of each.
Poker Face – Lady GaGa (3:57): Take the tension back down to 6/10 and get ready for some jumps. 8 counts for 1:30, 4 counts for 1:30, then 2 counts to the end (about 1:00).
The Edge of Glory – Lady GaGa (5:21): I know, I am getting far too predictable here. How could any all-GaGa spin playlist not finish with this one? A combo-drill: standing climb for the verses, sprints (standing if you still have the juice) for the choruses. The sprints are 30/30/60 seconds and you’ll find them at 1:04 – 1:34, 2:28 – 2:58 and 4:02 – 5:02. This song always leaves riders sucking wind in a very satisfying way.
Bad Romance – Lady GaGa (4:54): At last. Cool down music. I confess, Bad Romance is not my favourite GaGa tune. She sounds as if she’s singing with a mouth full of marbles. So if you want to run Alejandro first and finish up with You and I (5:07), I wouldn’t blame you a bit.
Alejandro – Lady GaGa (4:34): Perfect cool down energy for some stretching and goodbye music.
Have you ever done a single artist playlist? Which artist? And how did it go?