What makes a great Spin® or Indoor Cycling instructor?

A case could be made that the single most important marketing task for a cycling studio is the ongoing recruitment, evaluation, nurturing and management of top notch instructors…right?   A study of 500 active indoor cyclists conducted last year asked what the most important factor in a spin class was.  The answer?  You guessed it…the instructor.   Your marketing activities may draw people into your studio once or twice, but after that the reason they return is the instructor.

How do you evaluate and manage your instructors?  What is the most important characteristic of a great spin instructor?  Well, from a business standpoint it’s only one thing:  their ability to fill classes.  But the real question is what skills or qualities allow them to do that.  One way to evaluate instructors is by looking at 3 areas:

  1. Music selection (is it motivational, interesting, varied, tied to class goals)
  2. Technical / class construction (logical drills, defined goals, well-explained, creative)
  3. Energy and engagement (the ability to connect in a genuine and compelling way with students)

If an instructor scores high in all 3 of these areas, they are highly likely to fill classes.  If they score high in 2 out of 3, maybe.  If they score high in only one area…….probably not.  Can instructors be trained to show improvement in a weak area?  Interesting question….what do you think?

About Bill

Studio owner since 2004 and active in business plan and marketing plans for multiple cycling studios around the US and Canada. Devoted outside and inside rider, father of 3, teacher of 3-5 classes per week.

6 thoughts on “What makes a great Spin® or Indoor Cycling instructor?

  1. Hi. I would like to make a survey for my customers to evaluate my instructors.

    The difficulty is to make it simple and quick enough to encourage the customers to fill it, while collecting valid and exploitable data for the evaluation.

    Would you have survey templates to share?


    1. Greetings John — are you currently using Constant Contact (email marketing system) or have you ever used Survey Monkey? These are great 3rd party, online survey tools.

      As far as the template — I can show you some sample questions, let me dig up the link to a recent survey we conducted.


  2. Well …. this question is exactly what brought me here!
    And as an avid outdoor cyclist I have found that there are a LOT of ‘Indoor Cycling’ ‘classes taking place…… that just don’t seem to be ‘classes’ at all but are instead some kind of questionable fitness sessions on stationary bikes that include specific activities that are likely harmful to a cyclist. So for me a huge attribute of an instructor … and a class … is that they be somewhat directed in a way that helps students become better cyclists period.
    So, I am interested in trying to influence people more in that direction. Please let me know if I am on or off track here.

    1. Not sure Ron……many of the folks that participate in cycling classes are not outdoor cyclists and don’t plan to be. They are doing it because of the documented fitness benefits — and that is a legitimate reason. That being said, there are safe and effective “best practices” for conducting indoor cycling and “spin” classes and I agree there are lots of questionable practices out there. If you really want to read some great material on all this, you should visit http://www.indoorcycleinstructor.com Lots of informative comments and educational stuff there.

  3. Are there any restrictions on how much “direction” you can provide to an instructor being paid as an independent contractor versus an employee?

  4. Where is the best place to find experienced spinning instructors? Is it on-line? Scouting them out at other facilities? Advertising in the newspaper or other ad? Any advice anyone has about recruitment would be really appreciated. Kindest Regards

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