Friday, June 19, 2009

Just Don't Do It in your indoor cycling classes!

Don't think this stuff happens out there? It not only happens, it's actually prevalent in some places! Sorry, I have to take off my normal diplomatic hat and get downright indignant here. The contraindicated stuff just won't go away, and as such, I just can't/won't shut up! The shananigans in these Youtube videos are not only contraindicated, they're just plain stupid.

I mean, isn't a properly conducted Spinning, or any indoor cycle class, hard enough without goofy moves that take away from actually riding the bike? And this class in the first video is only doing some of the most egregious moves; perhaps it saves the others for the next song, the hovers, squats, & isolations. The second video, I'll leave you to comment (er, gag) on the "Spingasm" hovers, gyrations, hip thrusts and backbends of Angela's Joyride.

I'm slightly relieved to see that these aren't real "Spinner" bikes and is not my beloved "Spinning" program. But that doesn't make it OK or give it credibility. There is not a single indoor cycling program certification worth its salt that condones these outrageous types of class formats. It is bad to a ridiculous degree. These are instructors who are not certified and/or they are making up stuff because they don't know how to ride a bike and they think their students need to be entertained by erroneous fluff. They don't trust that their students are smart enough to know the difference (or maybe, dare I say it, their students aren't smart enough to know when something hurts it's not good for you). These instructors feel that every one of their students has a bad case of ADD and cannot sit for more than 15, 30 or even 60 seconds and just pedal a bike correctly, without having to flap their arms. They probably watch The Biggest Loser and get their class ideas from Jillian. They don't understand physiology, biomechanics, or the mechanics of pedaling a bike (even if it doesn't go anywhere, it's still a bike)!

Common sense would preclude this from taking place, but we've all heard that common sense isn't very common anymore...

Tell me, who will pay for the dental work for that woman in the back when she slams her face into the handlebars in the first video? Or the chiropractor visits many of these students will need over time, from either of these classes? Actually, maybe the students don't have the sense to put two and two together that it was their cycle class that threw their back out (except that backbend in Angela's joyride would be a sure culprit for most people in touch with their bodies).

It is my hope that eventually this blog post makes its way around the country until it actually reaches instructors who teach like this so they see the error of their ways. Hey, maybe it will even make it to these particular clubs. The first one is in Italy and the second in Los Angeles not far at all from the Spin Fitness HQ (I guess only in Los Angeles would you find an orgasmic Spin experience!)

Well, maybe that's a pipe dream that they'd suddenly convert from the dark side...

But I can try! :-)

I need your help to take this viral. Do me a favor; send this to every instructor you know, every club manager, even to your students, and have them send it to every instructor or club manager or fellow Spinning enthusiast that they know, with the message "Please! Don't let this happen at your club!"

Maybe we can have just a little effect and clean up indoor cycling around the country, maybe even the world!

Remember to Keep it Real in your indoor cycling classes!

(Oh, and if you haven't see my post from last year on numerous other horrible-yet-kinda-funny aerobics-on-a-bike Youtube videos, check these out!)

My mission: to use the power of Web 2.0 to help clean up Spinning/Indoor Cycling around the world. I'm using Twitter, Facebook and online forums to help spread this as well.

ARE YOU A BLOGGER (especially in fitness/indoor cycling, but really, any blog that will reach potential enthusiasts)? Please link to this post on your blog and then let me know about it!




41 comments:

Jeff said...

What a post Jennifer. I teach at a YMCA in the Pittsburgh area, and for the most part our instructors are top notch and teach according to the spinning program. I have been called the "Spin Nazi" because I don't put up with contradicted movements in my classes. I teach a Spin Interval class where we alternate between Spinning on the bike, and weight/strength intervals on the floor. (Yes it is safe, before I ever started this class, I checked with Lizzy Hoffman). I had a women in class yesterday who started spinning backwards. Has to turn off my mike, and address this one. Which led me to talk about contradicted movements. I will forward your post and thank you!

SpinSmart said...

Oh, and let's not forget "Angela Joyride" - a little jem that was produced and posted just 4 months ago out of CA. And, Angela will delete any comments made about her moves not be up to par.

Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHaZpDDSRA&feature=PlayList&p=EE64F6D81892498F&index=0

KeiferB said...

All I know is I'm glad I teach where I do, where we stress the core movements of the Spinning programs, and our participants health and safety over 'fun stuff'.

Thanks for helping to 'Keep It Real' and safe

Jennifer Sage said...

SPINSMART! You are so right. I've been wanting to post that one for awhile, so I edited this post to include it. Thanks for the reminder. Angela's Joyride is a disaster waiting to happen! Angela can't delete this! ;-)

Jeff and Keifer, thanks!

Yokota Fritz said...

Aerobicise + spinning! I don't know much about spinning (I ride outdoors year round) but those videos are kind of fun to watch. :-)

Jennifer Sage said...

Yeah, for a good laugh, just watch these vids! And for cyclists like you, unfortunately, it often turns them away from the GOOD benefits of Spinning, when done right and REAL!

Keith Scott Fairchild said...

Jennifer,

Thanks for putting this into a post that will be easy to share with my students.
The first video was bad enough, Angela's Joy Ride made me want to cry. What a bad example she provides for new, unknowing students.

William said...

That is terrible, no one in those classes must ride outdoors at all. We do not put up with any of that in our classes.

Megan S said...

The first one made me laugh out loud. I can't even imagine teaching anything close to that. How terrible. I feel for those people. Second video. WOW! How sad that anyone would find that to be appealing. Anyway...thanks for sharing! Love to follow your blog!

Charles said...

First thing that comes to mind is the old saying "bless their hearts". You know, the one you often hear down here in the South. For those of us who live here, we understand what that really means though. It means "They're so STUPID". The first one is pathethic enough but Angela's Spingasm made me want to puke! Was that a freak'in joke?

lamspin said...

Hi Jennifer,
I had to shake my head after watching these 2 clips. These instructors's purpose is self-serving only: gaining popularity without caring about the health & safty of participants. Angela's last question made me gag! Well, she must be a poll dancer who teach cycling????

Let's put the "bad" images aside and look at the "INSPIRATIONAL" and "REAL" one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sS50YArmXo&feature=related

Were you at the center of the front row? and your voice at the beginning? This clip made the flame in my heart glow stronger!

Yes, I will sent all these 3 clips to get my managers' attention & comparison; and it's up to them to pass on to others instructors.

Salute the SPINNING program,
Le

Jeff said...

Jennifer, watching the videos was okay. I really didn't think any of it was amusing. I thought it was it was really messed up that instructors taught their students this way.

Like you said in your post, Spinning is hard enough on its own

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing from Angela's joy ride is the firemens pole.

Kala Marie said...

Wow, Angela's joyride makes me want to vomit. I am a stickler for correct form in any type of exercise, and especially with the Spinning program because my passion for it is so great. You can rest assured I will be passing this on to all of my fellow instructors. :)

Beth Ann said...

Hello All:

WOW! I think the "Joyride" should be shown at the Hustler's club! Geez-maybe someone should just suggest they "spin" around a pole!

I strive to keep it real and I've just recently taken over another instructor's class and am being given a hard time by some of the participants (I don't let them control my ride as all my rides have a goal-just like you stated, Jennifer). Any suggestions out there for how to deal with the negative energy-which is a big waste in my estimation?

Anonymous said...

I have actually taken classes like the ones shown in the videos! The Phoenician Resort in Arizona....L A Fitness was responsible for the "certification" of their instructor (You Tube - Italian Stallion's cousin)and the swinging arm/weights? Oh, that's Reebok Cycle! SPIN Fitness needs an active ad campaign to police their own Master Instructors.

Charles said...

Just posted this on my blog as well as facebook. I'm also sending it out to every instructor at out gym. Thanks for starting the fire!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Jennifer. This kind of stuff spins (no pun) me out. With all of the time and love I've invested in becoming certified, achieving Star 3 status, going to workshop after workshop, WSSC's for the past 3 years, etc., etc., the poison that some instructors have the nerve to call Spinning just infuriates me. I e-mailed your newsletter to the three group-ex coordinators of the gyms where I teach. I know that one of them, so far, has forwarded it to all of the Spinning instructors at this gym. I hope we can make a difference and maintain the integrity of the Spinning program and bring safety and effective training back into the studio.
Tami Loew

JohnMac said...

I want to have a "spingasm"... I don't know what it is, but it sounds like fun ;)

JustJen said...

All I can say is OMG!!!!WTF!! I also wanted to vomit after the last video.

Michael said...

Wow, sad to say I have seen these types of classes before. It's all about educating the instructor's and the members. They need to know that this type of ride is a perfect example of what not to do in your class. As a Master Trainer for Reaction Cycling and a Spinning Instructor, we need to strive to make sure that this never happens at any of our clubs. groupxmike@gmail.com

Jennifer Sage said...

Le, thanks for posting that video! It's from 2006 WSSC, and yes, that is me front and center! It's Elsa Storm's voice however! I've never seen this video, how fun! I was lucky to sit next to Eduardo Gonzalez, and his girlfriend took this video, so that's why the focus on him (and a a result, me!!). ;-)

I think I'll post this as an actual blog post, it brings great memories from a great conference. And GREAT Spinning.

To everyone who has posted a comment, thank you so much for spreading the word. Keep it up - send it to EVERYONE! Remember, there's a lot more contraindicated moves that are not on these videos but are still ineffective and potentially injurious - squats, super high cadences, super low cadences, isolations, popcorn jumps, one-legged pedaling, and more. All of it, we've got to clean up ALL OF IT!

groupfitpower said...

Jennifer, I posted my links up at http://groupfitpower.com. I'm with you, lady, and this is one important topic. Thanks for bringing it up and talking so loudly about it!

groupfitpower said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SpinSmart said...

Ok, check out the hovering and over the top cadence in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-5yQJ0nPN8&NR=1 ((( and he just admitted to being Spinning Certified???)))

How about his 40 rpm hill climb:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03Od0LNo6VA&feature=PlayList&p=FAB3550D4CA0190D&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=2

quesadilla sanchez said...

I'm an instructor in LA. The Angela viddy is from "Spun Boutique Fitness," (http://www.bespun.com/), which is a boutique fitness studio which happens to feature such illustrious exercise programs as pole dancing. I included the link because I thought you guys would get a kick out of it.

When I was starting out, I hit them up to see what they're all about. I can tell you that the whole studio is pretty jacked, capitalizing on fad workouts like pole dancing or yoga booty ballet... not that there's anything wrong with campy programs like yoga booty ballet, but fad diet/workout junk is what LA seems to dig. In sum, I think you hit it on the head with the ADD comment.

In LA's defense, we DO have some bitching cycling instructors and studios. But Spun is def not one. I wanna give props to the Downtown LA Gold's Gym cycling instructors including Marc and The Cycle Annex in Pasadena (http://www.cycleannex.com/). It may not be Spinning Certified, but the peeps at Annex have miles on these other folks. Whadda joke, seriously.

Jennifer Sage said...

quesadilla,

(mm, I"m getting hungry!) ;-)

You are right, there are some awesome instructors in the LA area. Both who are Spinning certified and those certified with other programs. NExt time I come out to LA, I'll be sure to check out Marc's classes - I'm always looking for good referrals when I travel! Let me know where you teach as well!

I should probably add to my post (or write a new one) that I don't want to judge a person's choice of exercise program - if they want to do pole dancing or yoga butt batalion, campy or not (great word BTW), all the power to them! The problem becomes when the instructor is unqualified and uneducated (especially in anatomy and physiology) and does movements that can actually injure the participants. It's when they take away from the act of riding a bike properly (and in the process, also take away many of the benefits) that I get indignant! These classes are a waste of a person's time, and perhaps even a waste of someone's knee/back/hip/neck!

A lot of the other fitness genre remakes (yoga or pilates boot camps for example) that are repurposed and packaged as fad fitness classes to capitalize on market trends are taught by completely unqualified people. It's not just indoor cycling. And it's hurting the industry all around. People who teach real yoga and pilates and focus on safety and function, are just as horrified as we indoor cycling instructors are when we see this crap!

Anonymous said...

Wow.......... Exercise entertainment at its finest. The most ineffective movements ... the popeye arm move? They would be better off if they went home and indulged in a can of spinach. I was waiting for them to break into the popeye the sailor man song. This is unbelievable if it would have turned into a musical I might of found it more believable. I will be posting this on my facebook. Thanks.

Crystal
West YMCA boise, idaho

RaffCycles said...

Jennifer, great post!!! I am with you 100% on your mission. I've posted your link to my blog and will be forwarding it on to all the instructors I know. Thanks for creating such a wonderful blog topic!!!

Anonymous said...

Ok I have never ever seen so many CI in a short period ! We have to sue her !

Anonymous said...

I have never seen so many CI in a shorter period of time, somebody have to sue her !


pascal

gillian said...

I teach indoor cycling in Cape Town SA and love every single second of it. I keep it real and provide a great training avenue for professional cylists as well as beginners, etc etc etc. It is all about bringing the outdoors in and keeping the class and members alive and motivated. Be it 45 or 90 minute classes, I have their attention and we all focus together, it is an amazing feeling. As for the videos, very very scary stuff. My observations - video no. 1 badly attended class with no "life" in it despite the copious amount of non beneficial movement. Video no 2 made me laugh, it reminded me of one of those music videos where they hire buxomed ladies to create the "sex thang" :-)and amazingly enough not one bead of sweat was falling from their pretty brows - one goes to gym to sweat, to work. There are mambo dance classes to do the sexy stuff, my two cents worth lol. Great article, thank you and will follow your blogs closely.

Shayne said...

Fabulous, although i do feel quite unwell...

Isn't ignorance a wonderous and many colored thing?

pinky monero said...

OMG, crazy! I never saw anything like it here in Australia. The worst I heard of here was a guy that took the seat off to keep the participants out of the saddle - that made me feel really sick! And he used to do push ups too - I never did his class though.

Viv said...

Thank you for giving me credibility! As a group fitness director I audition every instructor and will not hire anyone who has chosen this path. I also work with my staff to keep them current and safe. It starts at the top at any club. I have passed this along to everyone I know involved in IDC!

I was at WSSC in 2006. That ride was AWESOME and has framed my focus for the past three years.

Thank you for always Keeping it Real!

Evangel28 said...

jennifer.i dont agree with your style..
spinning is spinning and not dancing on the bike..or moving tha hands..
maybe some push-ups is ok..but until thete..
after you losse the point of spinning.
i am a fan of of Johny G..and i follow most of his techiques and i have some of my own...
but i always say that spinning is about cycling neither damcing,aerobics and weight lifting..

Jennifer Sage said...

Evangel28...
ummmm, hmmmmm. Didja read the post??? Anything I wrote? or did you just look at the Youtube videos and think I was suggesting they are correct? Did you see the quotes below the videos on how these are contraindicated and not effective ways to teach?
What you just said, is exactly what I said (well almost - pushups on a bike are never beneficial. Anyone doing pushups on the bike does not understand the principles of weight training, that you must have resistance to create a training effect, bodyweight against gravity in this case, and that resistance should be in the opposite direction of the movement. Neither of these is the case in pushing your upper body away from and then towards the handlebars. No benefit, unnecessary risk). But my general position, not just in this post but in my entire blog, my ebook and my 12 years of certifying instructors, teaching and writing continuing education (including the one on Contraindications in Spinning) and presenting at conferences, and as a cyclist, is that (to quote you), "Spinning is about cycling neither damcing (sic) aerobics and weight lifting".
Evangel...I worked for Johnny G! Try as I might, I do not understand your comment!

Ana said...

Thanks Jennifer for sharing all this good information. I am a Certified Instructor of the SPINNING Program, I have been teaching for 3 years and I like to keep it safe during my classes.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I hope she has insurance because thats a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Eddie said...

There are too many individuals teaching very bad indoor cycling.
Unfortunately, 'commercial" gyms look more at profit than quality. I am a road cyclist and MDA instructor, and had to give up teaching at these gyms, simply because people did not care. I volunteered to host 2 workshops on proper indorr cycling teachniques, bike position, do's and dont's, CI moves, and so on...The next few days those same people who attended were doing just the opposite at classes with other instructors. The gyms simply don't seem to care, and I am refuse to devote my knowledge and energy when I know it's going down the tube as soon as the music stops.

Simon T said...

I’ve been a keen off-road cyclist from the age of 14 and took up road cycling 4 years ago. I’m keen on fitness training, have a personal trainer and have been to various spin/indoor cycling classes over the years led by a range of instructors.
At no point in all of my off-road bike racing, on-road sportive/leisure/training riding have I ever done push-ups on my handle bars, attempted to ride up-hill in a high gear with no hands on the bars, pedalled backwards, pedalled backwards with no-hands at high load/ up-hill, squatted into my bike frame and tried to ride along or put such a high gear in that I could barely turn the pedals, or pedalled furiously for minutes at a time in a really low gear with no resistance merrily bouncing away in my saddle – so why, may I ask, is all of this and more besides finding its way into group indoor cycling?! Some of it smacks of an idle attitude or in some cases a complete lack of imagination such that they have to fill the time with nonsense.
I’m not a fitness trainer by profession but training is an integral part of my life. Some of the movements and techniques I’ve been told to do in classes are beyond my comprehension. A recent notable one was an instructor making people turn their resistance up so much they could no longer pedal, including the instructor, yet said instructor sat with hands on hips out of breath shouting at the class to keep going. I’ve been in a class like this before and it’s not friendly to my knees yet some people really are ignorant enough to believe that if something hurts it must be good for them.
I’m afraid I disagree with the concept to an extent; some people cannot always tell the difference between physical strain fromworking hard and the body sounding the alarm bell because something isn’t right and instructors who put people in that position are, at best, irresponsible and, at worst, dangerous.
I became so frustrated with some indoor cycling classes in recent years and at the age of 31 I resolved to stop moaning and do something about it. I studied my Gym Instructor’s qualification on my own time on top of doing my normal full time job so I could gain entry to an indoor cycling instructor’s course. I have recently started teaching classes in my free time; for now just covering absence for other instructors. I have taken some advice on profiles from the instructors that I have found to run good classes and used them as a basis for helping me construct some of my initial class profiles.
I find it that constructing class profiles properly takes time and thought, as well as making sure you have some decent tunes to run it to that can help driver and motivate your group. That said I can draw on a combination of my experience of cycling and from the points in the training manual; on that note I sometimes wonder how many instructors are actually trained for the purpose.