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Gangnam Style Spin Mix (60 minutes)

Hot on the tail of October 15th’s Rumour Has It Spin Mix is another mix of brand new and charting tunes (with no duplicates!)  Two all-new mixes in a week?  What’s gotten into my Wheaties, hey?

I used a 45 minute version of this mix for today’s class and one of my long-time regulars told me she thought it was the best ride I’ve ever done.  (!!)  She asked if I would use it again for my Wednesday class (normally, I wouldn’t, since I know she attends both, but with feedback like that, why not?  Never mind, in six months she’ll be begging me not to pull out the Gangnam Style ride again.) 

I caught a clip of South Korean artist PSY on the Ellen Show – where he shows Ellen and Britney Spears how to dance Gangnam Style.  His secret?  “Dress classy and dance cheesy!”  How can you not love this?

Diamond Jigsaw – Underworld (5:37):  I didn’t catch this cool track from UK electronica group Underworld when it came out in 2010.  Pity, because it’s a great warm up tune.  (If you’re in a shorter class and don’t need 5.5 minutes of warmup, just transition a bit earlier – the song supports this.)

I Need A Hero – Andrew Spencer & Blue Nature (6:04):  Another great find from Di at her blog, Work Out With Di.  We’re going to start working today with a punishing combo drill.  Just to show that I’m not a complete monster, take the first 30 seconds to swig some water and get ready.  From 0:30 – 1:00 we’re going to pick up the pace into a surge (a seated not-quite-sprint, about 80% effort)  Then we’re going to alternate 1:00 minute of climbing out of the saddle with 1:00 minute of surging.  Here goes:  1:00 – 2:00   Climb  /  2:00 – 3:00   Surge  /   3:00 – 4:00   Climb  /  4:00 – 5:00   Surge  /  5:00 – 6:00   Climb.

Turn It Up (feat. Karl Wolf) – Kardinall Offishall (3:31):  I can’t relate to a lot of Offishall’s music but I love it when he gets radio-friendly, as he does with this track, and his 2008 hit, Dangerous.  You heard him, turn the resistance up and keep climbing.

Pound The Alarm – Nicki Minaj  (3:26):  Ugh – more climbing.  By the time we finish this hill, we’ll have 8:00 minutes of climbing behind us.  We’re going to grind to the top here, slower pace, high tension: 7/10., 8/10, 9/10.  Make sure you download the clean version of this tune – iTunes has $1.29 I’ll never get back and there’s no way I can play the standard version in class.  (They really oughtta have a feature where you can swap the filthy version for the clean version without paying for the song again.  Sheesh.)

Faster, Harder, Scooter – Scooter (3:46):  Whee – some speed work.  Let’s do 15 seconds off, then 15 seconds of sprinting in the saddle, followed by 30 off and 30 seconds on, then 45 seconds off and 45 on.  When you get to the 3:00 minute mark, you can keep going to 3:35 for a total of 80 seconds of all-out-effort, if you’ve got the juice.  Wanna?

Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull (3:26):  Jumps!  For a change, let’s do 4 counts up/down for the verses and 8 counts for the choruses.  Mid-range tension, maybe 5/10.

Gangnam Style – PSY (3:39):  Sure, iTunes has an English remake but I went with Psy’s original song in Korean.  We’re at the bottom of another two-song hill here – 7 minutes of climbing.  Ready for some rolling hills?

Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) – Calvin Harris (3:34):  Keep… climbing….

Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk (4:16):  Back into the saddle for some more speed work.  P!nk’s latest gives us three opportunities to sprint at 0:48 – 1:21, 1:59 – 2:33 and 3:07 – 4:14 (33/33/1:07).  We’re really stretching the sprint intervals today.

Domino – Jessie J (3:52):  This track had been hanging around on my iPhone for a few months.  It was clearly a jump song, no issue there – but I was waiting for the right mix to use it.  Let’s do the opposite of the last jump track: 8 counts for the verses and 4 counts for the choruses.

Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars (3:53):  I was one sprint song short of a full playlist, so of course, I turned to reader Spindarella, who put me on to this brand new track where  Bruno Mars channels Sting.  If you’ve got the juice, climb out of the saddle for the verses and take the choruses as standing sprints.  There are only two, at 0:57 – 1:22 and 2:17 – 3:10 (25/50 seconds).  No juice?  Remain seated and take the verses for recovery.

Survival – Muse (4:17):  I must be the last person on the planet to hear this song, which was the official song of the London 2012 Olympics and channels some of Queen’s anthemic work.  This couldn’t possibly be anything but a seated climb, so let’s get to it.

Feel So Good (Radio Edit)Calvin Harris (3:28):  I originally had this song where Locked Out of Heaven is, but I used Feel So Good as the last song in my 45 minute class today and it worked beautifully.  It’s a tempo drill starting at 0:45.  I coached my riders to choose a cadence and resistance that they could maintain for 2:30 but that would leave them utterly spent by the end, and judging from how many were sucking wind when we finished, they did and they were.  (The last 12 seconds are a freebie.)

Some Nights – Fun (4:37):  I can’t get enough of this gorgeous, gorgeous song from Americn Alt-rockers, Fun.  The video follows two soldiers in the American civil war and is nothing short of magnificent.  I know I’m not the only one who can’t stop listening to it – the official video has 36,000,000+ Youtube views – and the song hit #1 in Australia, New Zealand and Israel.  It is also a top 10 hit in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.  Perfect cool down energy.  (iTunes offers a dance remix by DJ Space’C, but why mess with perfection?  This song is that good.)

One Life – Hedley (3:33):  A little extra cool down and goodbye music.

If you want to use the 45 minute version of this playlist that I used today, just skip Turn It Up, Sweet Nothing and Survival (all climbs), and you probably won’t need the second cool down song (though I would leave it in as I like to have enough music to last through clean up and everyone’s departure.)

Have I mentioned that I’m really enjoying Di’s Work Out With Di blog?  She offers tips for putting together a playlist here.  Like me, she looks for songs first, and creates a class around the music, which is pretty much Spinning heresy.  I am NOT saying that I sacrifice training principles for music – there is so much flexibility in the music we choose that you can achieve any training goal and still use great tunes.

Di’s tip to mix genres and dates allows you to create playlists with more legs (a journalism term for a story with longevity).  I have a weakness for Top 40 but an all Top 40 playlist like this one is just gonna sound dated in a year or two.  (For that, I do what Di does – cherry pick songs into new playlists).  Di is right about Top 40 – it is going to have great appeal to a certain segment of the population and is likely to leave other riders cold.  I had at least half a dozen riders over 45 in my class today – I got great feedback from one of the guys that he liked the class – but I do feel like I should mix it up a little more.

What do you think?  How central is the music for you?  Do you try to create playlists with legs or just go with what’s getting lots of airplay?



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Rumour Has It Spin Mix (60 minutes)

I subbed my Grasshopper’s class at a new club on Saturday – a gorgeous room with just enough sunlight and 38 bikes (all occupied!) and all with computers (cadence, watts, heart rate, even a trip meter).  It was a treat – thanks, Nancy. 

I got good feedback on this new Top 40 mix from the riders in the class who pronounced it “tough.”  I could tell from the puddles on the floor that they meant it.  It includes 14 sprint intervals and about 25% of the time out of the saddle.  It also includes four specific challenges: a long song for surging and climbing, two back-to-back combo climb/sprint drills, two back-to-back seated sprinting songs and back-to-back rolling hills.  Each challenge is 6-7 minutes long.

The Veldt [Radio Edit] (feat. Chris James) – Deadmau5 (2:50):  Deadmau5 is a Canadian electro-house DJ and producer who wears a distinctive mouse-ear headdress at his gigs.  According to Wikipedia, he was the first Canadian artist to headline a gig at Toronto’s Rogers Centre (20,000 strong).  He also has a very interesting love life, having lived with Playmate Lindsey Evans and currently dating L.A. Ink’s Kat Von D.  The Veldt is a luscious warm up song.  I chose the Radio Edit but iTunes offers remixes as long as 11 minutes and everything in between.

Finally Found You (feat. Sammy Adams) – Enrique Iglesias (3:41):  We’re still warming up, but we’re going to add some tension, then pick up the pace and move into a tempo drill.  Pick a tension and cadence you can maintain for the whole song and stay there.

Rumour Has It (Joe’s Garage Mix) – Bump n Grind (6:02):  Stole this great Adele remix from reader Di, who has an active health and fitness blog at www.workoutwithdi.com.  (Thanks, Di!)  This is the first of the four challenges.  We’re going to alternate between a minute of surging (not-quite-sprints, seated, 80% of your max) and a minute of out-of-the-saddle climbing.  Six minutes means three sets.  Go!

Levels – Avicii (3:20): Swedish DJ Avicii wrote this catchy (mostly) instrumental tune that I can’t get out of my head.  Take the resistance up to 6/10 for some jumps: one minute each at 8 counts, 4 counts and 2 counts.

Don’t Wake Me Up – Chris Brown (3:42):  I had real issues over using Brown’s music after the domestic violence incident with Rihanna, but they are apparently on good terms again and he’s so damn talented.  Kudos to regular contributor Spindarella, who discovered it.  This song begins the second challenge.  We’re going to climb out of the saddle for the verses and do standing sprints for the choruses.  There are three short sprint intervals of 23/30/23 at 1:07-1:30, 2:22-2:52 and 3:07-3:30.

Amnesia (Radio Edit) – Ian Carey and Rosette (3:08):  Let’s continue with the latter half of the second challenge, climbing out of the saddle for the verses and standing sprints for the choruses.  Three sprints 30/15/15 at 0:33-1:03, 1:33-1:48 and 2:18-2:32.  Carey is a Miami house DJ and veritable old-timer in the business (he’s 37).  As with The Veldt, I chose the radio edit but there are a number of different remixes available on iTunes.

Somebody That I Used to Know (Tiesto Remix) (feat. Kimbra) – Gotye (4:33):  I always try to include one track in my classes where riders can close their eyes, zone out, and let it be just them and the bike.  Gotye’s haunting hit is that track today.  A simple out-of-the-saddle climb here.  I minimize my talking, usually only noting the halfway point.  Riders who need it can take some extra recovery time before the third challenge.

Everybody Talks – Neon Trees (2:57):  What are alt-rockers Neon Trees doing in a playlist full of house music?  I dunno – I just liked the energy of this song.  Third challenge starts here: seated sprint intervals for the choruses with recovery during the verses.  The sprints here are 22/20/45 seconds long at 0:30-0:52, 1:12-1:32 and 2:09-2:55.

Red – Taylor Swift (3:43):  Country now?  Have I taken leave of my senses?  Perhaps, perhaps, but I am very curious to hear the rest of Swift’s next album – it drops on October 22.  If all the songs are as strong as Red and We Are Never Getting Back Together, I predict it will be her biggest yet.  Let’s finish the third challenge: two sprint intervals: 30 seconds and a gruelling 1:45 at 0:38-1:08 and 1:40-3:27.  Hey, I did say it would be a challenge.

Give Your Heart a Break – Demi Lovato (3:25):  After that whale of a sprint, we need some extra recovery, so take the first 38 seconds of this song to wipe your brow and swig some water.  More jumps coming up, simple 4 count throughout at medium-high tension (7/10 or thereabouts).  Lovato is back in the saddle as a judge on The X Factor after a very public breakdown in 2010 – I’m predicting it will do great things for her career, as it did for Adam Levine on The Voice.

Kiss You Inside Out – Hedley (3:37):  This is the latest single from these Canadian rockers.  It’s perfect for some single-leg drills.  Begin with the right leg doing all the work; the left leg is still in the clip or cage for safety reasons, but it’s just along for the ride.  Coach nice smooth circles, pushing down on the downstroke, scraping across the bottom as if scraping mud from your shoe, and pulling up on the upstroke.  After 30 seconds, switch to the other leg.  You want enough resistance on the bike that you can keep up with the music and complete 30 seconds with good form, but you’re mighty happy to hear it’s time to switch legs.

I Cry – Flo Rida (3:44): Fourth challenge starts here – back-to-back rolling hills.  We’re going to be out of the saddle for the full 7 minutes.  Start with enough resistance to support your weight then cue small increases (up/up/down/down, or up/down or even up/up/up/down/down/down).  The challenge is in maintaining the cadence as the resistance increases.

Die Young – Ke$ha (3:33):  Despite criticism that when you’ve heard one Ke$ha song, you’ve heard them all, her latest is getting a ton of airplay where I live and is already in the top 10 in Canada and Australia.  Let’s finish the fourth challenge with more rolling hills.

50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train (4:08):  I like a big Las Vegas finish for my classes and this summer 2012 release from Train fits the bill perfectly.  Just try not to sprint for the choruses!  We have three more intervals between us and the showers, so give your shoulders a roll, grab some water and hit it: 30/42/1:00 at 0:45-1:12, 1:56-2:38 and 2:58-3:55.  I’m gonna do mine standing.  Whoops optional.

Hall of Fame (feat. will.i.am) – The Script (3:23): Inspiring lyrics from these Dublin rockers I’d never heard of before last week, though this song debuted at #1 in Ireland and has also hit #1 in Scotland and the UK.  It hasn’t quite had the same success in North America but it was only released less than 8 weeks ago.  If you haven’t heard this one on the radio yet – you will.  Cool down.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift (3:12):  I didn’t want to like it.  The title has the whiff of a working title where nothing catchier ever came to her.  Swift allegedly wrote the whole thing in 30 minutes.  But it got into my head, and I can’t stop humming it.  I’m not the only one – in two months, it’s gone to #1 in Canada, the USA and New Zealand.  If you’d rather something a bit peppier, The Radio City Deejays have a catchy dance mix (the Compagna Dance Mix) that comes in slightly longer at 4:44.

I shortened this ride to 45 minutes for the class I subbed today (at another gym in a different part of town) and was chagrined to realize I had one rider who’d been at the gym on the weekend where I initially used this playlist.  He was very gracious about getting almost the same ride and commented that the extra 15 minutes really felt tougher.  To shorten the ride, I left out Finally Found You and used the first minute of Rumour Has It for warmup, plus I left out Everybody Talks and Red (the 3rd challenge), but you could also choose one seated sprinting song of the two, and one of the two songs for rolling hills.