Sunday, May 4, 2008

Aerobics on a bike

To illustrate what I am referring to in my posts on contraindications, here are a series of videos of just plain silly indoor cycling classes and demonstrations.

Now, some of you might say, "hey! These look fun!" But I guarantee you, the injury rate from classes like these will be far higher than a properly conducted, safe and well-constructed profile utilizing proper training principles and a good understanding of biomechanics. You don't have to be a biomechanical engineer to see that the body wasn't designed to do some of these twisty, funky moves on a solid piece of metal that doesn't go anywhere, where you feet are strapped on to a fast moving rotating pedal! And with only a basic understanding of exercise physiology and biomechanics, you can understand why certain moves just won't create the adaptations they think they are getting.

The take-away message is: Just ride the bike! Don't do aerobics on it! There's no need to be constantly changing positions. You can inspire and motivate through your cueing, coaching and solid profiles.

Any comments, please add them below. I welcome opposing views as well, and maybe through a discussion, we can look at the science/biomechanics behind why these type of classes promote injuries and hinder performance development and solid fitness improvement.

The first one will blow you away. It's a demo, not really a class, but it's as crazy as I've ever seen (and you can imagine the type of classes these instructors lead, even if they only do 1/10 of what they are doing on stage).

The next is true aerobics on a bike. These girls all have poor setups on their bikes. Notice the knee position in the hovers and squats.

On this next one, imagine just one wrong move with those pushups! Between throwing out the low back and bashing the teeth into the handlebars in the dark as you get "pumped up" by the music, this guy must get commissions from the local medical center. How about that cadence during the Sandstorm song? Must be about 140+ rpm! And don't get me started with the weights and the hand swinging! eegads...

This next one is entitled Spinning with Carol at Willy's. I'd like to take Carol out on a real bike and see if she can do it without her "cha cha cha". What would she have to do if she had to ride a flat road for 15 minutes at a constant cadence? Notice how her pedal stroke is constantly interrupted with her cha chas, and the potential strain on the back as she throws her body side-to-side. Then when she sits down (on a saddle that is waaaay too low) and goes double-time (to her already too fast cadence) imagine how the knees are suffering. 120+ times per minute in the wrong position. And that hover/squat at very slow cadences... Here's the million dollar question: even if she can do these somewhat "safely" (er, that's a stretch) what about her students? They are frantically trying to follow suit, as she quickly changes from one thing to another, cha-cha-cha-ing, thrusting, squatting, twisting and bowing. And what if her student is 60+ years old? Guaranteed they couldn't do this. This class is about as bad as they come. I bet if I asked her about biomechanics or about aerobic vs anaerobic training, or about other basic physiology questions, she couldn't answer me. And you want this person leading you in a fitness class? Instructors MUST know more than they do right now!


OK, this guy is scary. Not so much from a contraindicated standpoint, but he'll give you nightmares! Better not NOT do what he says! His bike setup is that of a racer, an aggressive position. This is not a bad thing, mind you, but I hope he sets up his students in ways that aren't so aggressive. He looks like a cyclist by the way he rides with the knees in - a good thing actually.

Are you ready for the Italian Stallion? If it weren't for such bad form while riding and the super fast cadences in a standing flat, I'd actually enjoy this couple. At least they're in love! I love how she interrupts him. I wonder if they won their trip to Italy (sounds like this was a competition of sorts as they are looking for votes). Remember, Spinning Keeps You Young!

add to : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Add to Technorati Favorites


Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer,

I loved your comments to each
one of those videos. I have to
admit, I giggled quite a bit
(each of those were entertaining).

Keep up the fantastic job
(judging by those videos,you have much work ahead of you! :)
Thank you for keeping all of us
educated about IDC over the years
(this coming year will be my 7th -
I feel really lucky to have met you
at WSSC and always look forward
to reading whatever posts you
create -- and now your blogs!
You rock, Jennifer.

- darlene

Anonymous said...


Here is one positive note:
At least all those people in the
videos are moving their bodies
and exercising! :)

- darlene

Jennifer Sage said...

Thanks Darlene! Yes, that's true, they are moving, they are fit! I'd just hate to see them buying a ticket for their students for the orthopod, chiropractor, or worse! I look forward to meeting you again at another conference!

Victoria Chavarria Star 3 Spinning INstructor said...

Hi Jennifer!
Victoria here...from Costa Rica!
Love all your blog...aaaaamaaaazing job!
in fact the crazy, mad, scary and hystherical instrutor video had it on my favorite videos from you tube account!
As I saw your article came to my mind a video I saw on you tube as well about a bike that had a handlebar that moves side to side...called x-biking ... heard of it?
I understand the importance of the "liberaciĆ³n del ritmo"- sorry don´t know the term you use on english but I´m shure you know what I´m talking about :)- (in fact , is one of my favorites things about spinning... feels like flying on the bike and exc for relaxation etc) on a spinner since the frame doesn´t moves but what would you say if the handlebar moves? what would be the side effects of this? If you could watch the video , here´s the link:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer, Great blog! So much useful information condensed in one place! Thanks for the song lists too! What's the word of working hard to get rid of contraindications.... contrainspiration? :-) Martin

Teresa said...

Are these people kidding? This is why Spinning gets a bad rap and why good, safe, decent instructors aren't getting the high numbers that the crazy instructors are. I cringed when I saw these.

Jennifer Sage said...

I've heard of x-biking and have talked to a few instructors who teach it. I should probably withhold comment until I have a chance to experience it. I've heard it's supposed to be more like mountain biking, but being a pretty avid mountain biker, it doesn't seem to me to mimic the mountain bike movement at all! When I go flying down a hill on a single track, my handle bars don't move relative to the frame. Nor when I'm climbing. I steer the front wheel, but that's different. I'll let you know if I try one out!

Ann said...

I've actually seen some of these moves in my gym. OMG!

It's hard to believe that some instructors are getting away with teaching this stuff. It begs the question -- how are these people getting hired in the first place?!

anyway, thanks for the informative blog!

Jennifer Sage said...

Ann, so true! You can make an impact by sending the link to the blog post of June 19, 2009 to your club director. maybe it can start there!