A Spinning & Indoor Cycling Instructor Gets A Bit Hot Under the Collar…

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pm_februar07_1Perhaps you remember Master Cycling Instructor Jennifer Sage, whose high-powered instructional manual about spinning and indoor cycling, called “Keep It Real”, was reviewed on this very website, in the post “Why You’re Not Losing Any Weight in Your Indoor Cycling Class”.

Today Jennifer is back, and she’s on a mission to clean up spinning and indoor cycling around the world…

You see, there are many, many things that happen during indoor spinning classes that people simply should not be doing – spinning moves that can be very dangerous for knees and backs, indoor cycling styles that can be ineffective for weight loss and fitness, and a general lack of good knowledge among certified spinning or fitness instructors about how to actually teach the spinning or indoor cycling class.

Jennifer appears to be quite fed up about these problems, and so she starts her post today by featuring these two YouTube videos…which show some big mistakes made by indoor cycling instructors…

So here’s what Jennifer Sage has to say…

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

Wow! Strong words from Jennifer – but as an “ex-indoor spinning instructor” myself, I’d have to agree with what she has to say. The bottom line is this: make sure your spinning instructor knows how to truly make indoor cycling effective for fitness and weight loss.

Want to learn more about Jennifer and her book “Keep It Real”, a manual for indoor cycling and spinning instructors? Just click here…

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66 thoughts on “A Spinning & Indoor Cycling Instructor Gets A Bit Hot Under the Collar…

  1. I know nothing about spin classes but these two videos made me a little sick feeling. It reminds me of crappy massage or sexual massage being compared to true sports massage. Very frustrating for Jennifer I'm sure.

    1. Ugh disgusting. I was certified through the spinning program this past April. I decided to take a class at the gym I belonged to at the time about 2 months after I got certified to practice for an upcoming audition for the gym I currently work at. If anything the instructor reminded me of everything not to do. She had people doing push ups on the handle bars, was walking around changing everyone’s resistance knobs to the number she thought it would be . People weren’t able to make full rotations and some were just bent over the handle bars. I was cringing and was dying to walk out but told myself I had to stay so I could see the rest of this class. She cursed at one point, had people doing leg stretches on the handle bars . I ended up filling out out a comment card and indicated I was a certified instructor and happened to be taking this class and listed all the contraindicated movements. I told them I thought she was a liability and it was only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Of course nothing was done. She is still teaching and I think it probably got brushed off as me calling this instructor out because I wanted a job there when in fact the main reason I wanted them to know I was an instructor was so they would see that I had knowledge of what was unsafe. At the gym I work at now, none of that would fly. They really want us to focus on simulating outdoor rides and will not allow us to teach jumps.

    2. Instructing indoor biking/spinning/cycling used to be my bread and butter during my younger years. And up to now I still teach my craft whenever I have time to spare because it has been in my system and routine. I have read several entries conveying the idea that using a stationary bike could hurt someone’s knees during the process of pedaling, and yes this could happen but to be honest, it rarely does. When can we hurt our knees? We hurt our knees when we by accident twist them while we are bearing our own weight on the ground. In the process of pedaling we do not do this weight bearing concept. The weight on our lower extremities being transferred on the pedals is constantly shifting on each side. And in addition, the range of movement is constantly relevant to the speed of pedaling in a flexion-extension manner without the twisting. This is actually the reason why spinning/cycling is part of a rehabilitation exercise of basketball players who injured their knees.
      I do agree with everyone that we really need to set the standard of making our program safe to all our participants. In my 10 years of instructing I believe that I have carried this out. I respect everyone’s views in spinning/cycling/ biking or whatever you may call it. But the fact remains that we still have our own preferences.
      When I started teaching indoor biking, I did all the standard aspects of the craft. I conformed to the usual technique that everybody has been pinpointing. But then it got boring not all participants are cyclist or purist and people just got tired. I do not like to lose clients so I reinvented the so called boxed workout. Yes, I introduced movements which conformed to the fluid motion of doing side to side movements during a climb, movements like moving forward and backwards off the seat and lastly some upper body movement that involves flexion and extension of the elbow. I have done all this movement synchronized with the pedal cadence with perfect tuning from the music. If one would see my class, we move as one.
      This is the program/concept that I am teaching that people just love. All aspects of the workout are there including the basic warm-up, main cardio and cool-down which are all in tune with my music. This also includes the basic climb, sprints and recovery tracts that are all carefully patented with the right amount of load at each given instance.
      I strongly believe that moving on the bike won’t be crazy or stupid. One just need to learn to instruct properly and clearly so that participants will be guided and of course the basic is still there, the form, the right biomechanics and lastly certain safety precautions which are pertinent. For me, the videos are still not acceptable but with practice they will be great.

  2. I don’t know who is dumber? The “instructor” or the “students”? get them all in line though and you have a wind tunnel.

  3. You know Jennifer, I never heard about you before, but I couldn’t agree more with you, I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one thinking this way. It is so obvious that these are not actually spinning instructors. But sadly you can see these kind of huge mistakes on certifyed instructors too. There’s also another issue that it’s no mentioned here, and that’s the intensity of the classes. I use to see a great % of instructors who teach every single class like if it was a race day. They don’t have the common sence to think on curves of training or even on the stimulus intensity on each exercise. Meaning, no recovery, no warmup no cooldown. Let’s be honest, a 5 minutes cooldown after an intense hard work out with sprints or even after a long climb it’s not enough to remove the lactic acid on your muscles.
    Now, why is that they do that kind of mistakes?
    I tend to think it’s a mix of things.
    1. There’s a certain number of instructors that doesn’t care…
    2. Some times instructors feel the pressure of their bosses to have their classes with no vacants and sadly, people (students) use to think that the only good class is a hard or intense class. So intructors tend to take that way of thinking too.
    4. And this I think it’s te most common issue, is that some instructors just DONT know anything about training physiology. Why? and to be honest again with you, spinning program just tells you how they think a training should be but doesnt really teach you how to do it. Yeah sure it’s your responsabilty to keep going to the education courses, but in the meantime between your certification and the moment you’re actually a certified instructor you have 6months wokring and teaching classes without knowing how to apply what you’ve learned.

    This of course applyes to instructors that know nothing about physiology or training. Sadly they are a huge number. I can always remember finishing the certification day and thinking, I’ve been all day there and the only thing I’ve learned is how they think you should set up the bike. The rest, on how to make a planification, how to program that planification and how to periodizate it was something I allready knew.

    Sorry if my english is not that bright, you can obviously tell that english is not my mother language.

    Regards!! and keep up the good work!

  4. wowsers those videos were frightening! i teach cycling full time at equinox. actually have taken some of your classes before and they rock! keep spreading the word!! i did a tour de france ride recently inspired by you (we climbed mont ventoux) :)

  5. Unbelievable that instructors would put their students at harm doing such incredibly stupid moves. Angela's joy ride is a mess! I think she thinks she's riding something else besides a bike! I've been a spin instructor for 10 years now and have always cringed at some of the moves I see done by others. If you can't do the move on a road bike, it shouldn't be done on a spin bike. Keep up the great job Jennifer!

    1. Very funny Sue. I think she wants Brass Poles on the bikes. I’ve been road riding for about 20 years, and Instructing since 98. I could not agree with you more. These clowns and their gyms are setting themselves up for litigation.

  6. OMGoodness! I don’t mean no harm but these are a hot mess! I felt like crying through the 1st one and laughed through the 2nd!

  7. I’m shocked !!!! Spinning is supposed to be outdoor cycling simulated inside, not so !?! Imagine if we did some of those moves on the road!?! We’d all land up in hospital !!!!

  8. Holy toledo! I couldn’t even finish watching the second video (no orgasm for me!). As for Angela’s Joyride, I’d walk out very shortly after class started. It was all I could do to refrain from commenting on youtube. As a Spin instructor, who is considered hard but nurturing and has worked with seasoned Spinners and people who had never done spin and didn’t bike, the three hand positions and five moves are all you need for an effective, challenging, fun class. Keep it simple,keep it safe.

  9. We were just talking about this in my spin class yesterday. Most of us all agreed that you shouldn’t do anything in spin class you wouldn’t do on your bike during a real ride.

  10. Jennifer is spot on with her comments. I’ve raced bikes for over 20 years, and I have yet to find a spin class where the instructor knew anything about cycling. It’s just insane what these people do, and more to the point, it’s counterproductive. I have never encountered anything like it and was astounded at how stupid and pointless the workouts were. I tried the spin classes during the winter at the local Y and gave up after trying all three instructors, because it was obvious that they all learn from each other, and not a one of them knew anything. Mostly, they seem to think that redlining your heartrate is the only game in town. And the people in the class just drink the Kool Aid. Nutso. Just give me an old school wind trainer any day!

  11. Ok, those videos are a little retarded, but you guys are crazzy to not want a spin class to be hard all the time. These classes are there for you when you need motivation reaching you max (or 90%) heart rate during high intensity interval training. You don’t need to be in a class seting with lots of suport and encouragment in order to have a proper cool down or a recovery workout. You can do that on your own in front of a tv. I want a spin class to be hard every day of the week. That way I know what it’s going to be and if I need it I’ll use it. Your fitness is still in your own hands spin is just a tool you can use.

  12. Watching these videos made me want to cry. As a seasoned indoor cycle instructor, I find myself competing for prime class times and students against so-called instructors who perform moves similar to Angela’s. The managers of the clubs are all about filling seats and not about fitness. People who go to these classes are there for entertainment. They trust their instructor not to harm them and when they have back, hip, shoulder, knee pain they blame themselves. I get sick and tired of the pressure to compete with this garbage.

  13. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Those who follow that crazyness over a period of time, will reap those benefits such as knee issue, back issue, carpel tunnel, etc. This is really sad especially since HEALTH FACILITIES allows this to continue.

    I'm a avid cyclist, MDA certified and been teaching for 2yrs. I stay true to my certification and whomever doesn't like it, spin elsewhere. I'm not teaching for their entertainment unlike those instructors i the videos.

  14. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Those who follow that crazyness over a period of time, will reap those benefits such as knee issue, back issue, carpel tunnel, etc. This is really sad especially since HEALTH FACILITIES allows this to continue.

  15. as a long time spin instructor and an educator in the industry I'm appalled by some of the garbage that passes for indoor cycling classes. thanks for taking the initiative to point out how these types of classes are just wrong on so many levels. this will keep me motivated to stay with my current style of work:recovery intervals with a focus on a different energy system in each class. keep fighting the good fight!

    1. Hey Pete – where / who would you recommend getting certified by? I'm looking into becoming a spin instructor and want to do it the right way – Thanks for any feedback you can give.

  16. i have spun for over a year and i have to say these classes look fun. you're not on a real bike, you know, so why not mix it up and have some fun? as for the arm flailing, it can distract you from the tension in your legs as well as help work your core. i'm all for anything that makes a workout interesting and different within reason. i'd sign up for angela's joyride!

    1. I am an instructor over 11 years and Angela's Joyride is a bio-mechanical nightmare…..I've never seen such bull!$#@. Also, why we are on the subject of BAD FORM I went to a training session at Equinox for instructors and my mouth hit the floor when I saw all of the bad form of the instructors that were there. They were bouncing around swinging body parts/etc. and all I could think about is that they were teaching this to members setting them up for injury. I would have to say that in all fairness there were about 4 instructors of the 45+ that were there had good form the rest I was shocked and I was shocked at the person who gave the class because they were supposed to be a master trainer and their form was bad also……..what happen to the quality of classes…………

  17. I just attended the worst 'spinning' class ever! I am Schwinn and Spinning certified and have been teaching for 5 years. I just moved to a new area and thought I'd try out the local gym…has all the bells and whistles and new bikes which are unfamiliar to me. I went in as a newbie and fumbled around with the settings while the instructor stood by and watched. He yelled into his mic that we should have no resistance and just warm up and then, poof…he was on his bike with the resistance cranked up to the top, everyone standing and doing 'no bounce' for at least 10 minutes! People were hanging off of their bikes, leaning on the handle bars and generally riding with terrible form. There was not one suggestion about technique, just encouraging words like 'suck it up'. I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea. I stayed for 30 minutes and sweated my butt off but I am disappointed to think that the other participants think they got a good workout.

  18. Ummmm, a spin bike is not the road people! There are many safe moves that you can do on a spin bike that you can't do on the road. But since there is no need to see the road, watch for pot holes, counter act vibration, fell the flex or stiffness of your bike, you get the luxury of "playing" on the spin bike. So why don't all you sanctimonious asshole just hit the road? Oh that's right, too afraid of getting dropped and your ass handed to you at the finish line?

    1. i don't hate cyclists nor the traditional indoor cycling program but you have a point about "getting real" with your indoor cycling class. these people still doesn't get it! if they want to train for their outdoor cycling then they should attend spinning classes or the traditional outdoor simulated programs. yet, if they just want to burn calories or stay fit, since they pretty know their biomechanics… save the criticism to themselves and just have a good workout. after all, spinning was created by a cyclist for cyclists to train indoor. so what the f*$% is the problem? spinning was marketed to the fitness industry where gym members are not all cyclists? anyway, you're also right about "the spin bike is not the road". how about riding a BMX bike and doing tricks with it compared to riding a spin bike and having fun with it? which is safer and the risk of having an injury is lesser? i'd be happy to hear a quick reply to this. peace!

  19. This is someone who should be teaching a step class. If she actually ever road a bike she would have a clue. You shouldn't do anything that you wouldn't do on a real bike. There are some people who think they can teach any form of exercise class. I don't teach kick boxing b/c I don't know anything about martial arts, but I am a triathlete so I feel I am qualified to teach cycle and weight training. This is a problem throughout the entire industry!

    1. I have to agree. It looks like the instructor is trying to motivate the class by keeping things interesting, but it does look like someone is about to flip off their bike doing one of these nutty moves. I am about to become ACE certified and the idea of doing a class that is so out of my personal realm like water aerobics would be aweful to take and possibly dangerous for the students! http://wp.me/23iJB

  20. Okay, lets bust some assumptions. the Maddogg training for certified "spinning instructors" has quite a few things I'd never do on the road nor care to do on a spinning bike. The hand positions are nonsense, and the notion of "running" is ridiculous. I've been on spinning bikes of one form or another for 20 years. My preferred bikes are the LeMond revmasters – and the Maddogg folks say those bikes are horrible. So there's a lot of infighting and territorial bullshit about spinning, which is a term used for a long time in cycling that refers to a high pedal cadence. I agree w/ the post about tings being different on a stationary bike vs. a road bike. I ride 170 miles/week on the road. Indoor cycling is a nice tune up and works to keep my cycling spin in tune, but it just doesn't come close to real road riding. So the notion that things can't be added to indoor cycling w/out being dangerous is bullshit. Oh, BTW, I'm a chiropractor and find the most egregious problems are not fitting the bike right – seat height, fore/aft of saddle, and resistance. It's all about fit and technique. And understanding cadence and resistance.

    1. Andy,

      I actually use my classes (indoor cycle classes) as training for my triathlons and have made the world champ team with just that – no outdoor riding. So your comment that it doesn't come close to outdoor riding is way off the mark!

      I do agree that setup needs to be right and i always screen for new people to check their setup and then monitor the class as it goes on and will stop participants if need to be to make adjustments to make it a better ride.

      But i 100% disagree with with adding crap into the class – its cycling for gods sake – keep it as cycling!

    2. Andy! You could not have worded it better. One of the centers I teach is a bike store. The wanted me to put several people on computrainers in with my spin class with me and have them make the same moves on their road bikes. I refused, and I think they finally saw my point. I certify insturctors for their store and it took me a long time to convince them there are moves on a spin bike or indoor cycling bike you cannot make on a road bike. In fact it would be dangerous. I used to ride road bikes daily for years until an accident that made me decide that riding inside may be safer for me!

  21. Hi Jennifer! Im going to be a new instructor! Pretty excited and nervous though. I truely love spinning and the classes I've been to so I don't want to be on your blog ha ha so is there any advice you can give me?!

  22. ANDY:
    I ride/race as well and I'm a dancer. Spin classes are to improve "fitness".

    Instructors who feel the need to entertain their clients to avoid boredom are often the ones who
    are afraid of boredom themselves. Creativity, however, is not about being STUPID.
    Creativity comes from adherence to the foundations of a safe and effective training program while engaging the rider in an intelligent, emotional dialogue with their own bodies across the topography of the class and the classes that accumulate across the training calendar.

  23. I used to be a spin instructor- a good one. I used to race mountain bikes (mostly DH) I stopped teaching for a while- but recently took a few classes here in my city. I don't think I would fit in as a teacher in this day and age- gone are the days when good pedaling form is taught, or HR is used as a training tool- where the purpose is to simulate training for a real, outdoor ride. (interval training is a lost art form) Classes are taught by fitness and yoga instructors- more core work and pushups than climbing, jumping and dancing to Lady Gaga- the class is taught by instructors who don't seem like they have ever ridden a bike outside before.The body mechanics taught would have you crashing over the bars or developing a knee injury. So sad. I wish I had the energy to fight this, (I am a busy grad student- and I don't feel like butting heads with fitness coordinators) this article gives me hope. Until then- I look for classes taught by real cyclists- maybe I just need to get out of the city.

  24. Deanna, I have to politely ask if you can handle a technical descent or climb on a mountain bike. Or even have the right mechanics to keep it upright on an easy trail. If you can, great, spin is a fun distraction for you. Dance and flap your arms to your heart's content. If not, please don't insult real cyclists/mountain bikers by clinging to the idea that you are going to achieve great strength, endurance, balance, agility, power, and speed in most spin classes. That's like thinking I could defend myself against a real attacker by taking a kickboxing class. Keep it real! ;)

  25. Not trying to be unkind here. Yes, spin classes can help a lot with training if done correctly. And as a side bonus- can burn more calories for those just looking for general fitness than the crap currently being taught. It's sad that it has become so far removed from sports conditioning. Imagine a ski conditioning class that slowly started turning into a Zumba class… hahaha!

  26. Instructors who feel the need to entertain their clients to avoid boredom are often the ones who
    are afraid of boredom themselves. Creativity, however, is not about being STUPID.
    Creativity comes from adherence to the foundations of a safe and effective training program while engaging the rider in an intelligent, emotional dialogue with their own bodies across the topography of the class and the classes that accumulate across the training calendar.
    هوت سبوت شيلد

  27. WOW! I considered my spin class choreographed, but I keep within spinning tradition. My philosophy is, and always will be. if you can't do it on a real road bike then don't do it at all. I have seen instructors pull out weights an have us do shoulder presses while riding and it drives me crazy. The clients that spend half of their time spinning backwards also, and won't budge no matter what you say to them. These videos were definitely insane and I can't wait to share them with my spinning partners.

  28. Finally! Someone who dares point out and address the hazards and errors made by these so called instructors. These very people whom we’re paying hundreds of dollars to attend their classes.

  29. I have heard stories about this stuff going on but still shocked to see it. As a cycling instructor myself I feel like I am daily fighting the battle with people that don't understand the right way to ride (including fellow instructors). It seems like some cycling instructors want the class to be a race day every day then when I come to teach or sub for the class and I try to have a more focused ride thay say I am just to easy. It is nice to know that there are other instructors out there that feel the same way as I do about indoor cycling.

  30. My question is quite simple.
    I have never tried the spinbike.
    I am a bodybuilder going into my cutting phase. I usually do heavy cardio during this phase,like jogging. But I hate running.
    I will like to know if these spinbike workouts are just as good as or better than actually jogging with respect to burning excess calories.
    Will appreciate some response.
    Thank You.

    1. As a Spin(t) Instructor (& ex BB) the answer is yes, if you go to a proper Spin program class, training at the correct %MHR to ensure fat burning. ie aerobic <80% MHR 60min is good, but 90min will burn cal like crazy.
      Spinning has the highest MET rating of 10. A fit male could burn up to 1000cal in 60min session. I regularly burn approx 800-850 depending on which zone I'm training in.

      This is an excellent article on poor spinning technique.
      Spin program has different levels of instructor training from Star 1 to Star 3 instructor then Master instructor.
      My instructor is Master instructor Mark Tickner (look him up – it's worth while).

  31. I have read most of the posts here carefully. I am a Pilates Instructor and dance teacher (holistic , we look anatomically how the body is designed to move!) for 10 years and in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years. I used to Mountain bike and road bike many years ago. I am moving into my own studio and became interested in wanting to teach Studio cycling, my interest is now mainly for promoting weight loss. However I remember going to a spinning class over 10 years ago and my reaction was 'what the heck was that!' For me it didnt resemble being on the road and hated it. but then again Im a purist, I also tried Body balance where its pilates and yoga to music choreographed and I walked out!
    So now after reading this I am more confused. shall I go to a local spinning class, but that may put me off again.
    what training would anyone recommend that is good sound knowledge in proper technique and interval training. (I also like the idea of the peak 8)

  32. I'm just new to wanting to become a spin instructor and was poking around and found this site. I watched the 2 videos before reading the article and was thinking maybe its not for me if this is what spinning was about. Thank goodness watch the gag reel before seeing the movie.

  33. Wow, these two videos show us crazy people, students as well as the instructors. Why are the people in the second video on indoor cycles? They'll hurt their arms and won't feel anything in their legs, no resistance, no muscles and no brains

  34. I am a spin instructor and also a personal trainer. I have been doing both very actively for more than 5 years now. I teach many classes per week..everything from TRX to weight classes to Abs to Boot Camp. Along with everything else I do, I teach 3 spin classes per week. THe people who come to my classes could give a rats ass about riding the bike as if they were training for a road race etc!! My classes are fun and stimulating. I make sure that my clients use proper form as not to hurt themselves. Without adding is some of the upper body stuff etc, most people lose interest quickly if they are not avid cyclists. I say…be safe but also keep it fresh and fun and stimulating!! Most of the women who take my classes have seen great results, weight loss, tighter leg, abs etc!! No injuries at all!! They keep coming back for more…that is the key to fitness…consistency!!

    1. Peggy,

      If your participants lose interest i'm afraid it's you and not the class. I'm a believer that if your a great instructor/role model – you participants will listen to you 100% of the time.

      There are probably 5 riders in my classes of over 50 participants in each class i teach (11 a week) but i teach a CYCLE class. Cycling involves the legs – Plain and simple! I am a Triathlete so always ride and coach like we're on the road and use appropriate cues and guide all my participants throughout the class.

      Peggy – do you do Cycling in your TRX or Bootcamp classes? I would say probably not – So keep Cycle classes to just CYCLING. Use your professionalism as an instructor and coach and your participants will love you more than some glorified aerobics instructor on a bike.

  35. a really worthwhile post Jennifer – it winds me up rotten the bullshit that passes for exercise prescription and people like us should be much more vocal about it – my concerns have always till now been with the bs that is passed on relating to gym based stuff but we've just entered into the spinning world in shanghai, china (cos we love it) – all moves are all about cycling though – if the punters don't like it then frankly we'd rather they didn't come anyway

    keep up the good work

    Jon Robinson
    BSc (Hons) Exercise Physiology http://www.spinshanghai.com http://www.makethisworkout.com

  36. AT my gym we had a physiotherapist come in as a member and she complained about the spinning classes. We were not doing anything crazy like these videos but there was standing while spinning and hover and pushups. After her complaint we could only do sitting while spinning for an hour. Nothing else. Classes that were impossible to get in before started having empty bikes. Many classes were cancelled for lack of interest and now they are getting rid of the entire program. The only bikes we will have available are recumbant and regular exercise bikes.

  37. most of the these comments sound really stuck up…you can't be for real when u think the people above are not exercising or losing weight?! Not everyone is out there to be muscle bound and professional. Activity is key…these people could be sitting on their couch watching t.v. and find it more stimulating than the traditional cycling class where you go up the mountain and ride it out…again…and again…and again…oh and stand up! ready go! …same every week. These classes are exciting and although I do both tradition and exciting spin classes…the system I am currently training is also focused on form and strengthening certain body parts…
    of course you can't do push ups riding your outdoor bike down by the river….get some perspective and lighten up.

  38. OMG, LOL If you did this on a real bike you would fall off! Don't do things on a stationary bike that you wouldn't do on a real bike!

  39. I took the Schwinn training course with Shannon Fable and was impressed by the fact that the curriculum stressed that indoor biking isn't necessarily the same as outdoor biking. The focus in the course was building solid, challenging workouts rather than an "entertainment" experience. It was a solid course and full of really great ideas. We did two rides, lead by Shannon and they were the best spin workouts I've ever done. If your workout is organized, challenging and people are dialed in, they don't need to be "entertained". Loads of good advice, none of which involved jumps, dancing, weights or anything like that. . I'm coming into fitness late in life, as I was always the bookish, nerdy gal that got picked last for everything. My goal is to help people realize that a workout isn't a punishment but a reward unto itself and it can even be fun. I'm glad I can help them on the journey and I want to do it correctly and with care with none of that cockamamie nonsense shown in the video.

  40. Newsflash…spinning bikes are NOT REAL BIKES! The comments about not doing anything on a spin bike that you wouldn’t do on a real bike are ridiculous.

  41. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You’re incredible!
    Thanks!

  42. I feel like I need to email this to my gyms email. I went to a different location of my gym last week and they did stuff like this. Not to sound rude either but the spin instructors were FAT. I’m not one to take exercise advice from a woman who’s bigger than me. I am going back to my other gym where they didn’t do crazy things that I felt like I was going to fall off my bike. Good article.

  43. BRAVO!
    Thank you for saying what so many instructors wish everyone knew about the dangers and down right stupidity of doing anything on a bike beyond riding the bike. When preparing for an indoor cycling class I remind myself that if any move or position would be unnatural or unsafe while riding my street or mountain bike it probably shouldn't be performed on a stationary or spin bike.

    My favorite classes to participate in and lead are those which allow the riders to focus on the ride. Cycling is more than enough exercise for my heart, lungs, and so many muscles are engaged when proper form is practiced that there is no excuse for adding zigs and zags. When I feel I need to work on other aspects of my personal fitness I can always participate in a strength and conditioning class, Pilates, Yoga,etc. Even more simple: I do core strengthening exercises and other toning exercises while watching TV or (at least) during commercial breaks, in a more controlled environment for such activities, and in privacy if I accidentally lose my grip on my resistance band.

    Thank you for letting down your "diplomacy". This information is vital to the indoor cycling community's continued success and the personal fitness and health success of all indoor cyclists.

  44. Hi All, I came across this blog page while looking for some inspiration on a piece that I am writing for a training blog for road bikers that are having a hard time of it with the weather at the moment here in Ireland.
    Jennifer I salute you, This type of indoor cycling class is what puts real cyclists off going to indoor sessions in their local gym.
    I have been teaching indoor cycling in different formats for approx 20 years and sometimes to the disapproval of some of my instructing peers, the one thing that I have done is stay true to my road racing roots and treated every session like a day out training on the roads. At the end of the day we don't want to reinvent the wheel cycling is cycling, weather it's outdoors or indoors.
    Strange that I had the highest class attendance at any of the gyms that I had worked in, Clients know when they have had a good workout and would always come back for more.
    I feel if you are aware of cadence, resistance and their relation to RPE then getting clients to crank up their resistance is acceptable during the sessions, after all they are there for a workout and not a spin down to the local shop. I always include some positioning and posture advice during the warm-up and if anyone is feeling that they could or if I see that their positioning is a little off I'll help them make the adjustments to get it right.
    When It comes to planning a class, think of it like a stage race, each class within the week is an individual stage with its own character, be it a hill stage or a stage for the sprinters. I have even done sessions based round an event called "Devil take the hindmost", where members of the class get points for not dropping the sprint. First to drop the sprint is eliminated and their subsequent sprints are not counted, the winner gets a free pass at the juice bar. a simple idea based round track cycling but so easy to do in an indoor session and it adds the element of fun and competition to the session.
    These kind of sessions cover all the elements for a good training session without doing push-ups on the handlebars and I use the term push-up very loosely .
    I assessed a new instructor for a friend of mine recently and when they started push-ups on the bars I slipped out of the class and it was game over for them.
    I'm glad to see that there are still so many fitness professionals with good knowledge out there fighting the good fight against poor standards.

    1. This has really only come home to me recently when I relocated , some of the instructor/leaders in my new spin groups were using something they called 'isolations' to the routine. I took one look at what they were doing and started laughing, this is nothing you ever do on a bicycle unless you are showing off at a stop light or in a track match. I think the fundamental problem is that in the past 11 years that I have been attending spin sessions I've only known one instructor/leader that was actually a cyclist, and I think that real cyclists in their groups intimidate them, so now they are 'making-up' their own new indoor sport that will be unrelated to bicycling whatsoever. The funny part in all of this for me is that this is something that can be changed–its your workout that you pay for, if you don't like what the instructor/leader is doing you should make your concerns known to the people you are paying your money to.

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