Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vacuums Suck...Are you living in one? (Article)

In previous posts I've made reference to the importance of having a good mentor.  Don't miss the word "Good".

Many of the social media forum's that I actively participate in regarding indoor cycle, have had the discussions hijacked about fringe cycle-like fitness classes.  We've all heard about Soul Cycle, but the latest crop is related to a class in Atlanta lead by Keith Thompson he's calling KTX Cycle.  In this class, Mr. Thompson crosses Hip-hop and Cycle.

Wow I can't even begin to count the number of contraindicative movements here.  I'll also be the first to admit that I couldn't do this class (even off of the bike) because I'm not coordinated enough.  And while I referred to these cycle-like class as a fringe group, they shouldn't be underestimated in their reach and
potential impact.  Soul Cycle reached national status because of Kelly Ripa's endorsement on Live!  Prior to that, nobody in the Midwest would have even heard of them unless you're in the industry.  Keith Thompson, creator of the KTX Cycle has over 11,000 followers on Facebook as of this writing, with comment after comment on the YouTube video's about looking for a class like that.

Holding true to her cause you find Jennifer Sage, founder of the Indoor Cycling Association and former Spinning® Master Instructor put up a post on Facebook denouncing this latest rash of viral video's.  
"I will say it publicly here and now. The indoor cycling world has jumped the shark with this batch of new videos with the hip-hop classes on the bike...When (not IF) someone gets really injured...ICA will be here to act as an expert witness."  - ICA Facebook Post, January 31, 2014
The problem is that we will never see any lawsuits from these classes as fitness clubs protect themselves and their instructors behind a virtually impenetrable legal waiver.  Don't get me wrong, I like the assurance of knowing that I'm protected from frivolous lawsuits, but that shouldn't give me license to put my clients at risk of injury.

In doing some research for this article I found some really bizarre legal cases where the fitness facilities successfully exercised their waiver indemnifying them from any legal action.  My favorite was a California suit where a member had a television fall on them.  The participant was adjusting the television so they could see it better while exercising and BAM! It lands on them.  Should the participant have been messing with the television?  Probably not,  but it should have been secured so that it wasn't adjustable and could not fall. Regardless, the case was dismissed because there are certain inherent risks to participation in physical fitness.  [A television falling on you being one of them I guess.]

So fast forward to my situation this weekend.  I coach at LA Fitness (this is nothing against them), but at LA Fitness they accept a wide variety of certifications for their Group X instructors with very little accountability after being hired (that's the vacuum I mention in the title of this blog post)  They do provide free Keiser certification (which I also hold in addition to being a Star 3 Spinning® instructor).  One of my participants mentioned that she was recently having back pain.  I uncovered that she had taken a couple of classes in which they were coached to do standing isolations.  [Standing Flat at 80+ rpm, while preventing their core from movement]. My suggestion was take an anti-inflammatory and stop doing this contraindicative movement, if the problem persists go to the doctor.

So I addressed this by sending a link to the above video to all my peers just to remind them that this movement shouldn't be performed, not naming the instructor that had cued this.  The email was immediately met by a slew of responses justifying the movement and that I should keep my opinion to myself.  Whoa!  I uncovered a whole bunch of instructors working right along side of me doing this, not just one or two.  One instructor even went on to say that the only reason this isn't part of Spinning® was because it wasn't one of their patented moves.
The reason isolations aren't performed is because the bike has all that kinetic energy in the flywheel.  When you isolate your core it pits the soft tissue of your body versus the rigid frame of the bike.  The energy that would normally be dissipated by your body moving has to go somewhere, and in this case, it will be your knees, ankles, and calves.   Bike-1 / Body-0; you lose.
Okay, Spinning® didn't patent any moves; they trademarked their name.  And they may have some terminology that they use that isn't used in other programs but many of the moves are the same.  I even went on to point out that it wasn't just Spinning® that didn't include isolations, but also all the other reputable programs such as Schwinn, Keiser, Cycling Fusion, C.O.R.E. Cycling, and Real Ryder.

I was even reminded in one email that we were cleared to perform such a movement because all the participants had signed the club's waiver and that it was the participants responsibility to make sure they didn't perform a movement that they weren't capable of.

The issue with this is that these members come to our classes expecting us to be the professionals.  We're to have the knowledge that they don't.  They count on us to provide them with a safe exercise environment and to not knowingly give them instructions that, at best is ineffective and at worst dangerous.
"We're [expected] to have the knowledge that [our participants] don't."
You may be safe behind the legal protection of a waiver, but I sleep a whole lot better knowing that I'm not doing anything that puts my clients at risk of harm.  If you're a fitness profession, act it and remember that continuing education is important so that you don't live in a vacuum as our knowledge increases and fitness programs evolve.

- Spinning Freak

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