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RPM 65 Review


General Thoughts

RPM 65 is the 2015 Q1 release. You may also want to check out my comments on just the music.


  • The two biggest changes were in the Intervals track (adding heavy load right at the outset and only adding two gears throughout) and the Mountain Climb track (power/sprint/climb phases).
  • For 2015 Q1, the focus (at least for RPM and BODYJAM) is on how to set participants up for success. The folks at Les Mills know this release is scheduled to be taught in January (i.e., when gym memberships see an up-tick). The choreography notes provide coaching techniques to encourage riders newer to the program and to challenge the regulars.
  • This is the shortest RPM in my collection, clocking in at 42m 32s.


  • Sarah Ostergard (co-program director) was not present
  • Glen Ostergard (program director) taught 3/4 of the masterclass. There were a few distracting parts where he would rhythmically count aloud (to demonstrate cadence) but would not match the correct beat. Also, in the Intervals track he gave several misleading time cues (with 40 seconds of heavy effort, it’s not helpful to say there’s only 10 seconds left).
  • Mark De Luccia is from New York and had a superb coaching style. Although unlikely because of logistics for masterclass filming, I’d like to see more of him in future releases. I’m disappointed Glen didn’t let Mark coach more tracks.

Track-by-track Breakdown

Pack Ride — Calling All Hearts

  • Just like the last three releases, we add heavy load in the Pack Ride to recruit (i.e., warm up) more muscles very early in the class
  • Very welcoming and up-beat song; Glen was very friendly and engaging while presenting this track, demonstrating that you don’t need to put your game face on as soon as the music starts

Pace — Summer

  • Second release where the standing climbs have been removed from the Pace track
  • Like RPM 64, we set up racing load early on; this release has reductions between blocks, though
  • The music is a bit repetitive, but it’s a Calvin Harris-engineered earworm — I couldn’t wait to teach this one!
  • With four rounds of work that are essentially the same topography, this is a great place to layer your coaching — set up, fine-tune, motivate, and then inspire.

Hills — Anthem #2 (Nick Skitz & Technoposse Remix)

  • Pretty typical Hills track; the tempo is a slight bit faster than previous releases, but not by much
  • As with the Pace track, the music can seem mechanical; however Mike provided some great layered cues to keep things exciting. My personal favorite was, “There’s only one way out of this valley: up!”
  • There are options for 5% acceleration during the last attack phases to give riders a challenge

Mixed Terrain — Heartbeat

  • One word: FAST (i.e., 144 rpm); this is the fastest Mixed Terrain track in my collection
  • Again, the choreography was straightforward: sprints with some integrated climbs
  • Glen’s coaching on the masterclass didn’t really offer anything new about riding fast for the sprint phases; there were several times where he wasn’t riding quite up to tempo

Intervals — House of the Rising Sun

  • (Any time there’s an alternate track, I ask myself, “Why wouldn’t my participants like this particular track?” So far I’ve not heard anything negative about it after class.)
  • This was the toughest track for me to get through at 100%. You put heavy load on right at the beginning, and the only break is through pace, not reduction in load.
  • The focus in on explosive power, and really feeling the contrast of the deliberate standing recoveries mixed in with full-pace attacks
  • Another innovation was the idea of alternating which leg starts the attack phase so that you don’t end up only using your dominant leg

Speed Work — Earth Meets Water (Club Mix)

  • Since RPM 61, we’ve had climbs in the Speed Work track; prior to RPM 61, you never would put more than racing load on
  • Two opportunities to “overgear,” allowing more muscles to switch on, more than is needed for the sprints
  • In the masterclass, we got a shared moment from Glen during the first sprint: “This is what RPM is all about right here: this sound and this feeling.”
  • I was a bit confused about the alternative recoveries — sitting up and stretching vs. staying down at Ride Easy

Mountain Climb — Get Loose

  • Disclaimer: This is the finale track of BODYJAM 67 (the first release I was able to teach), so I had to mentally work to coach this an RPM track and not a dance track
  • Good heavy, driving feel in the music to match the heavy gears for the last working track
  • The last two phases were an interesting way to deal with the tempo changes: (1) accelerating against heavy load to create power, (2) reducing load to sprint, (3) adding back the load to climb

Ride Home / Stretch — Rude

  • Laid-back reggae beat, which is a little different for RPM
  • As before, the off-bike stretches target the quads and glutes (no hip flexors or hamstrings); we also have just an upper-back stretch

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