Planning and instructing studio cycling sessions

You will need to plan a full 45-60-minute studio cycling session for a group of between 5 and 20 participants.

You will need to complete each of the steps in the following guidance:

Step one

Session planning

You will need to plan a group studio cycling session; the session plan must include the following:

Participant information and risk assessment

  • An overview of the participant group, for example, average age, gender, activity levels, health status, outcomes of any screening, number of participants.
  • Common goals of the session, participants and level of the session, for example, mixed ability.
  • A summary of the hazards and risk-management measures for the environment and equipment.
  • Specific safety considerations related to studio cycling.
  • Any special considerations or arrangements, for example, room temperature, floor surface, space, number of participants, footwear checks, drinking water.
  • Emergency information – location of the nearest telephone, first-aid kit and name of duty first aider.
Below is step by step guide on completing the risk assessment, then below is an example of the risk assessment.
  1. Location: Specify whether the session is indoors (e.g., gym studio) or outdoors (e.g., park), considering the implications of each setting on safety and the required preparations.

  2. Fitness Level of Group: Assess the general fitness level of the participants (beginner, intermediate, advanced, or mixed) to tailor the session’s intensity and to anticipate potential risks associated with varying fitness levels.

  3. Skill Level of Group: Determine the participants’ skill level with studio cycling to ensure instructions are appropriate and risks are minimized (beginner, intermediate, advanced, or mixed).

  4. Target Group Information: Provide demographics such as the number of participants, gender distribution, and average age, which can influence the type of risks present and the precautionary measures needed.

  5. Total Length of Session: State the duration as it impacts the fatigue levels and hydration needs, which are important for risk management.

  6. Session Overview: Give a concise description of the session’s activities and their sequence, highlighting any parts that may present a higher risk (e.g., high-intensity intervals).

  7. SMART Goals: Articulate session goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound, as these will guide risk assessment in terms of expected exertion and outcomes.

  8. Methods to Monitor Exercise Safety and Intensity: Outline the protocols for ensuring exercise safety (e.g., supervision, equipment checks) and measuring intensity (e.g., heart rate monitoring, perceived exertion scales).

  9. Equipment and Facilities Required: List all necessary equipment and any facility features needed, assessing each for safety and suitability.

  10. Health and Safety Checks Pre-Session: Detail the checks to be conducted before the session starts (e.g., equipment inspections, space clearance, emergency exits accessibility).

  11. Identified Hazards: List potential hazards related to the session (e.g., slipping on wet floors, equipment malfunctions) and their likelihood.

  12. Hazard Management: Describe the strategies for mitigating identified risks (e.g., non-slip mats, regular maintenance of equipment).

  13. Health Screening Pre-Session: Specify any health screening procedures that will be carried out before the session to ensure participant suitability (e.g., health questionnaires, fitness assessments). 

Below is a hypothetical example of a risk assessment

Session plan

Guidance for Completing the Session Plan:

Whole session:

Summary of Risks (1 mark): Identify common risks in studio environments, like slippery surfaces or poorly maintained equipment.

Risk Management Strategy (1 mark): Develop clear protocols, such as regular floor cleaning and equipment checks.

Music Use (1 mark): Select tracks that match the energy and pace of the session, with options for no music during focused intervals.

Visualisation Techniques (2 marks):

Provide examples of visualisation, such as imagining a challenging route to encourage exertion.

Offer a relaxing image for cooldown periods to aid in recovery.

Intensity Monitoring (1 mark): Explain the use of technology or manual checks to keep track of participants’ effort levels.

Coaching Points (2 marks):

Prepare key technique corrections and safety reminders.

Plan motivational cues to maintain energy and engagement.

Accommodating Participant Needs (3 marks):

Suggest easier alternatives for beginners or those with physical limitations.

Describe how to increase intensity for advanced participants.

Offer different exercise options for those needing a non-standard approach.

Effective Use of Space (1 mark): Plan the layout to ensure easy access for all participants and clear visibility for the instructor.


Appropriate Exercises (4 marks):

Choose low-intensity activities that gradually increase heart rate.

Include exercises that mimic the movements in the main session.

Describe how to gauge the suitable intensity and duration for a warm-up based on the session’s content.

Main Component:

Linked to Objectives (2 marks): Relate the chosen exercises directly to the session’s goals, like improving endurance or strength.

Riding Techniques (2 marks): Discuss the correct application of riding techniques that align with the session’s objectives.

Muscle Balance (1 mark): Ensure exercises target all necessary muscle groups for a balanced workout.

Intensity and Duration (1 mark): Provide guidance on how to maintain the right level of intensity for the prescribed duration.


Safe Cool-down (3 marks):

Select exercises that effectively lower the heart rate and help with muscle recovery.

Explain the importance of including both static and dynamic stretches to reduce muscle tightness.

Detail the appropriate length of time for a cool-down to ensure it’s effective.

Hypothetical Client
Example for Full Marks:

Whole session:

Summary of Risks (1 mark): Identified risk of equipment malfunctions; scheduled pre-session checks.

Risk Management Strategy (1 mark): Implementing a clear signage system for wet areas post-cleaning.

Music Use (1 mark): Compiled a playlist with BPM aligned to workout segments, including quiet periods for concentration.

Visualisation Techniques (2 marks):

Created a visualisation script depicting a mountain trail for endurance segments.

Prepared a cooldown visualisation of a serene lake to promote relaxation.

Intensity Monitoring (1 mark): Arranged for on-screen display of heart rates for real-time adjustments.


Coaching Points (2 marks):

Emphasised the importance of hydration and proper breathing techniques.

Prepared cues for smooth transitions between different riding positions.

Accommodating Participant Needs (3 marks):

Designed regressions with reduced gear settings for novices.

Arranged for advanced progression sequences with increased resistance phases.

Included alternative seated-only exercises for those with balance issues.

Effective Use of Space (1 mark): Allocated specific bike stations to maximise room for movement and air circulation.


Appropriate Exercises (4 marks):

Selected low-impact pedalling at a moderate pace to start.

Integrated upper body mobility exercises with handlebar grips.

Planned a gradual increase in tempo to raise the heart rate.

Set a dynamic leg-stretching routine to prep for the main session.

Main Component:

Linked to Objectives (2 marks): Integrated timed interval sprints to boost cardiovascular endurance.

Riding Techniques (2 marks): Practised alternating between seated and standing positions to challenge different muscle groups.

Muscle Balance (1 mark): Included cycling positions that promote core stability and upper body engagement.

Intensity and Duration (1 mark): Set high-intensity intervals for 1 minute followed by 2 minutes of active recovery.


Safe Cool-down (3 marks):

Guided a slow-paced wind-down cycle for 5 minutes.

Demonstrated static stretches for the lower body targeting key cycling muscles.

Concluded with deep-breathing exercises to help relax the body and mind.