Crank it Up

Josh Taylor
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Indoor Cycling

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“Crank it Up”, an intense interval workout, is one of the series. They recommend that you perform the intervals at 85-92 per cent of your maximum heart rate, dropping down to 65 per cent during the recovery phases, and do the workout no more than once a week after building a strong aerobic base.

The workout is led by Spinning Master Instructor and pro cyclist, Josh Taylor, an extremely motivating coach who keeps you constantly focused. Like other “Spinning” DVDs, it is shot with a small class of very fit-looking people. The music is perfectly matched to the speed of the ride.

During the 14-minute warm up, Josh talks you through correct form and pedal stoke, and explains that the goal of the workout is to teach your body to recover from effort, adding that everyone who does the workout should consider themselves an athlete.

The first working block consists of increasingly short speed intervals alternated with recovery periods of the same duration — 120, 90, 75, and 60 seconds. Josh gives constant count-downs and guidance on your target heart rate (or RPE for those who don’t have a heart rate monitor) and cadence. The same instructions also appear across the bottom of the screen. By the second interval Josh is running with sweat, by the third it is dripping off his face.

This block is followed by 10 minutes of recovery, during which Josh says you will be feeling a burn in your legs and lungs, and assures you that even pro cyclists experience pain. He says that, because the pain will always be there, you should focus on your form, rather than the pain.

The second working block alternates standing climbs with recovery periods of the same duration. The pattern for this block is 60, 75 and 60 seconds — “I changed it right in the middle! I’m playing with your head!” yells Josh — 30 and 120 seconds. Then, just when you think it’s all over, there’s another 120-second standing climb. Josh’s instruction for the last interval is just, “Be awesome right now!” By this time, his hair is saturated in sweat.

The workout ends with some quick stretches on and off the bike and a motivational talk from Josh who says, “I have some homework for you. Eat right and get plenty of sleep — that’s part of your recovery.”

The workout, including the warm-up but excluding the cool-down, lasts for about 50 minutes. You will get the most out of it if you use a heart rate monitor and cadence meter.

You can see clips of the “Spinning” DVDs and buy them from and

I would highly recommend “Crank it Up” to intermediate-advanced spinners who want a challenging workout. Five stars out of five for workout design and production values.

Instructor Comments:
Josh manages to be both intense and laid-back. He constantly addresses the class as “Athletes!” and “Baby!” My only quibble is that he says “innit”, “dunnit” and adds an extra syllable to “athlete”, pronouncing it as “ath-a-lete”. But he’s so motivating, so encouraging and seems like such a nice guy, I’ll overlook it!