ContraINDIGNATIONS™—Fast Jumps?!

ICA’s mission is to “Keep it Real” when teaching and coaching Spinning® and indoor cycling classes. Many contraindicated movements and methods have polluted health clubs and studios around the world. Although some were “added” to cycling classes to create an atmosphere of fun, most are not only ineffective but harmful both in the short-term and long-term.

Our stance on contraindications…JUST DON’T DO IT!!!

Welcome to the first in a series of videos demonstrating moves and drills inappropriately used in Spinning® and indoor cycling classes. Let’s work together to stop the madness.


  1. Is t possible to activate this video to work. I am holding an instructors meeting this weekend and it would be perfect to demonstrate “JUST DON’T DO IT!!!’

    1. Hi Nadine, I just tried (shortly after you posted this) and it works fine for me. You might try a different browser? I tried it on both Safari and Firefox and got it to work.

  2. Hi Guys…I have cycling classes where people expect to do jumps, and all kinds of crazy stuff…I try to stay away from it, and if I do incorporate jumps we do slower pace, with some resistance (more reflective of what you would do outside)…I still have those riders who say, “I want to build up my legs with jumps, do more jumps and hovers!” I usually tell them to hit the leg press machine after class… The point is that a lot of indoor cyclists look for and expect the crazy moves….if other instructors are doing that in your gym or studio you have students comparing your class and thinking it is not as effective as the class with the instructor doing crazy moves…lots of education needed to change rider’s minds on this…thanks for the video it is great!

  3. They say if you have to explain a joke, than its not funny. What Tom has done here is just the opposite, KUDO’s for doing it. Tom has explained something serious and demonstrated why doing it is a joke (a bad one at that).

    As a avid and well credentialed cyclist, and equally credentialed and obsessed fitness professional, I’m not happy about all the various controversies that exist in the fitness world. Its hard enough to attract and retain folks into doing something that is good for them, fitness!

    I recently penned an editorial on the CrossFit v Everyone controversy. I feel to a large degree its the same thing between indoor/outdoor cyclist, and now between the FlyWheel/Soulcycle v. Everyone else indoor cycling controversy. There needs to be an effort to resolve these issues and move on to what is really important: Developing fitness in the various populations that exist.

    SoulCycle, Flywheel and others are really in my honest opinion just doing something that is wise to do, create product differentiation through marketing. We all do it, or perish. That some are doing it through contraindicated moves, is wrong, simply wrong. But since when has that prevented anyone from doing business. I see indoor cycling instructors everywhere that will tell you, in fact, here that its all about the music. I’ve heard from many that using all “the electronic gadgetry is ruining their indoor cycling experience. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard (and experienced) music so loud it did ruin the ride. I’ve experienced first hand a negative reaction to “virtual rides”. Personally, I think it would be amazing to create a stadium like theater in which to have virtual rides, live concert rides, and given the level of electronic capability, come along with me rides. But there is always going to be controversy about the right and wrong of it all. Contraindications are bad…yes, we all get it. The points been made. I recently attended as a guest a few sessions at Flywheel. The instructor was amazing. He is a veteran road, tri, mtn bike cyclist. He’s also the lead trainer for a flywheel facility. Clearly he gets the contraindication issue…and when the last 5 minutes of the session was upon us, he took no offense as about a 1/3 of the attendees left. He also had the rest of the group focused on the silly, pointless exercises he led us through, and he repeatedly emphasized that “you should be barely moving your legs as this point”.

    I’ve witnessed the other end of the spectrum as well. A Yoga instructor had people attempting to maintain a 30 to 35 rpm cadence, while “downward dogging” beyond the handlebars. Talk about waiting for an accident or worse?

    As I said, I know enough to know what I am looking at, and/or experiencing. Another contraindication that I see all over the place in indoor cycling, (and cost me my Les Mills RPM cert) is telling people to attempt to hit a given cadence range. Urging folks to his such targets as 95 to 100 or 100 to 110, with little or no resistance!!!! That is seriously unwise. Its enough to tell them to hit a given cadence period! But to also suggest doing it with to little or to much resistance is just wrong! High cadence is not a group thing, its as individual as it gets. Sticking with Power, HR, Watts is wiser and more beneficial. But of course, this too can be argued and become yet another controversy.

    Can’t we all just get along and ride? 🙂 LOL

    Ride Well! Ride Safe! Ride Often!

  4. You made me laugh Tom:))) I never use jumps or hovers in my classes…never! If I don’t do it outside on a bike, why would I do it inside. I always tell my class, if you want “bells and whisteles”, go elsewhere.

  5. Tom, As always, great info, and I can’t agree more. For all, I’ve been teaching with Tom for the last 4 years at Equinox and learned a lot from him. A lot of these moves are gimmicky and often used (in my opinion) in absence of good fundamental coaching/teaching. I am purely an indoor rider, but there is no substitute for proper form and technique – indoor or out. There are so many ways to engage your class rather than integrating these ill-advised movements. If instructors would just spend a little more time prepping, a lot of these things might be avoided.

    Thanks, Tom! and everyone else for practicing what you preach!

  6. You are preaching to the choir. those tap backs are crazy! and sooo wrong in so many ways.

  7. Humor is a great way to get a point across. loved it!

  8. Great video. Those go against evething we were taught in Spinning certification class. I either let the class do jumps on their own(but I tell them it has to be over 4 count)Most of the time I do 5-15 seconds. I reiterate proper technique of jumps every class.

  9. I love that you are dedicating time to address contraindicated moves and that you have made them free posts. The video was great – short and to the point – but in the future I’d like to see a short, scientific explanation about why the move(s) are unsafe included as well. As ICA members seek to educate their classes, and sometimes their facilities, it would he helpful to regularly provide the “why,” too.
    Once again, you are helping indoor cycling take a giant leap forward.
    Thank you!

  10. These fast jumps, hovers and the like just look ridiculous. If I am incorporating jumps in my profile, then I demo ‘the stupid’, with a little exaggeration, so people can see how ineffective (and stupid) it is and the potential to hurt themselves. Like Jennifer mentions, I too, don’t do them often but also prefer to do more climb repeats.

  11. How did you know I needed this today? I just had to inform a substitute instructor that she could not teach popcorn jumps and leg isolations. She doesn’t understand why not so I guess she won’t be subbing anymore at my gym! I was feeling kind of bad about confronting her, but not anymore! Thanks, Tom and Jennifer….nice timing!

  12. Also, the quick “Hover” that Tom is doing in the video with the fast jumps are very reminiscent of the “Tap backs” that are so popular in Soul Cycle. “Tap backs” are a kind of “reverse jump” in which you push your butt quickly to the back of the saddle from a standing position and just barely tap it. You can see from the video how painful and silly that move is. Hurts just to watch it!

  13. On the ICA Facebook page, Alden Hogan posted a great question about this video, and I wanted to put it here to make sure everyone saw the question and my answer:

    Alden Hogan: I think this video is hysterical! Those hovers look painful. I have a question about jumps. I am Spinning certified (Jan 13) and I do not count out jumps when instructing. I encourage riders to find their own pacing, saying form > quantity (goal is smooth transitions in and out of the saddle). I think my jumps are about 8 count jumps, but since I don’t count I am not sure. I’ll cue something like “3 jumps right here on this hill” or “flat road jumps, 45 seconds, at your own rhythm”. Is ICA suggesting that jumps not be instructed at all or are you simply showing the wrong way to coach jumps? I know ICA is not affiliated with Spinning but I am curious. Thanks for your feedback, I look forward to more videos!

    My answer: Good question Alden. We are talking about the FAST jumps in this video. Moving quickly in and out of the saddles has little to no cycling specificity or effectiveness, even indoors. If you do them as 8-count, you are allowing riders to attain and hold both the seated and standing position without compromising form. That’s all I ever do any more (and not very often), but I guess I don’t call them jumps any more, I just call them standing versus seated! A “true” cyclist jump is a powerful surge against a higher resistance (usually faster cadence for a brief moment) out of the saddle to initiate an attack or close a gap, or as short intervals (8-15 seconds) to train explosive power.

    If an instructor wants to put in a few 4-count jumps here and there, for variety and to hold students’ attention for 20, 30 maybe 40 seconds, I don’t see a problem with that (although Tom might disagree!) Yes they can be fun. But to do it for an entire song, or longer, it starts to have less and less purpose and causes form and function to fall apart for many students. Better, in my opinion, to throw in a standing surge every now and then. They are fun, they break up monotony, they allow you to develop power, they allow students to focus on form (because they are longer), and they have more cycling specificity than an entire song of up and down and up and down.

    All that being said, could I personally ride a 10-minute song with 4-count jumps (I wouldn’t even consider 2-count ones myself) with pretty good form? Probably, BUT WHY? In that 10 minutes, I would have been much more effective and put out a greater average power (hence = more calories consumed) had I just alternated sitting with standing in 20 or 30-second intervals, or just done a true cyclist “jump” as a surge every 40-60 seconds.

    Hope that helps! Great question.

  14. That was so funny! I go out if my mind when instructors do jumps, hovers, jogging and freezes. Thanks for the comic relief!

  15. Love it! Haa! Up down Up down…hover! 2 second recovery and .. ha !

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