Sunday, August 30, 2009

The JUMP controversy

In between my moving preparation, staging our current house for viewings and Open Houses, and a garage sale this morning (which wasn't very successful) I am trying to squeeze in finishing my promised profiles and playlists for Can Fit Pro. I've been a bit pre-occupied to say the least.

I do have one profile and playlist completed! It's for the session called Jump 'N Jazzier, which is a multitude of different ways to teach jumps, both on flat roads and on hills, with a focus on proper form. But I've had in the back of my mind for some time now to write an article on jumps, following the release of the ACE newsletter in June which decried jumps as being unsafe and intimidating. This statement came from a Schwinn Master Instructor, Julz Arney. Unfortunately, since Luciana Marcial-Vinson, a Master Instructor for Spinning, was also interviewed for the same article, but on other contraindicated movements, it appeared that Spinning was agreeing that they are indeed unsafe. Luciana had to quickly respond with another article stating the position of Mad Dogg Athletics & Spinning®. I've gone one step further and added my own $.02 to the controversy in an article over at the Indoor Cycle Instructor website.

I believe that Julz' comments about jumps being unsafe, too fast, impossible to master, hard on the knees, and intimidating are true! Yes, I said true...but ONLY when describing "Popcorn Jumps", which have long been on the contraindicated list for the Spinning® program. Popcorn jumps are impossible to do with good form or with control, and they impede a good pedal stroke. And yes, they are very intimidating if a student is watching from the outside looking in. If I was a potential student, and saw them being done in a class, I wouldn't want to go anywhere near that class! So if this is what a "jump" is being perceived as, then Julz' comments are absolutely true. Unfortunately, they are far, far too common in indoor cycling classes around the globe.

But can't that be said about any movement in an indoor cycling class? One that is done too quickly, out-of-control, with resistance that is too low and cadence that is too high? The bottom line is that all comes down to the instructor.

When done with proper form, proper cadence, proper resistance and with a speed that is in complete control by the rider, jumps are not only not unsafe, but fun and effective and they add variety to your class. Their cycling-specificity varies, depending on the method you employ. A cyclist in a Spinning class may decide to sit the jumping part out and just ride in the saddle, which is always an option. But they won't hurt you and they won't hurt your cycling or pedal stroke. When my class is full of cyclists, I rarely do them, or only do the cycling-specific power jumps (see my article for a description of those). But when there are many non-cycling students in my class, the added variety is very helpful for them.

So go ahead and jump. Jumps are GOOD! Jumps are FUN! But teach them correctly damnit! It's up to YOU, the instructor, to teach and to demonstrate proper form. So point the finger back at yourself and analyze your own form.

My article is lengthy and informative. You will find it over at the ICI Podcast. (I did that because I can reach a larger audience - I think a larger audience needs to learn this). While there, download the profile and playlist from my Can Fit Pro session called Jumps 'N Jazzier. I think you will really enjoy it and will find some new and exciting variations for teaching jumps and keeping them realistic.

By the way, our moving day is tomorrow. We are only moving 20 miles away, but it might as well be 2,000! So I won't be around much this next week or two. Please continue to spread the word about this blog and the ICI podcast! And if you know anyone who tends to jump too fast in class, please refer them to the article at ICI. It gives solid reasons why popcorn jumps are not advisable.


Carly said...

I did this profile with my class this morning and it was awesome!!
I think they really appreciated the variety + form tips.
I get the "what are jumps good for?" question a lot and was happy to be able to explain it in this way.
thanks Jennifer!!!

claudia said...

Jen...U made me sweat and work hard with that ride...but was it ever fun!!!!! I'll post the photo from can fit soon.
the video didnt turn up great cuz...we dimmed lights too much!
Thanks for sharing the stage!!