Jumps can be controversial. They are a big part of the curriculum of some indoor cycling programs; others avoid them or list them as contraindicated. I believe it depends on the form and speed with which you perform them.
Here is a question from Renee that highlights the common challenges many instructors face with jumps:
Can you give me tips for how best to teach jumps? I have never been comfortable teaching them, don’t teach the crazy 2-count or “popcorn” jumps, but use seated/standing climb alternates as my method. I need to improve the application of this movement as members like them and they are good to put in when subbing. I just haven’t found the right rhythmic count or feel of music to best deliver these.
For those who know me, it’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of “jumps” in the traditional Spinning® sense of rhythmically rising out of the saddle every 2 beats, especially for extended periods. As a Spinning master instructor for 12 years (until 2009), I taught them to new instructors at orientations and occasionally included them in my conference sessions. But I added a caveat to use them sparingly, to not go too quickly or do them for very long, and stressed quality over quantity.
What do I have against them? Over the 21 years I’ve been teaching Spinning and training instructors, I’ve found that jumps are among the most misunderstood techniques on an indoor bike. When done poorly, they are a sloppy movement that has no functional benefit whether you are a cyclist or not. They can potentially be dangerous to the student and/or reduce the effectiveness of the workout due to poor form, sloppy pedaling, or insufficient resistance. Even at conferences observing a room of instructors, I’ve noticed many simply cannot demonstrate good form while jumping; therefore one can assume they are not teaching good form to their students.
However, when done with control and good form, they are fine. I also realize that one must pick one’s battles. Many indoor cycling participants love jumps. Instructors love teaching them. I admit they can be fun, and they can provide a distraction to the hard work, while at the same time they serve to engage students. By placing riders’ focus on the rhythm of the movement, it helps distract them from discomfort or the perceived boredom of just riding a bike. This, I believe, is why jumps are so popular.
Many of the instructors I know who ride outside have told me they never teach jumps, except in the way described below that mimics a “real” jump in outdoor cycling. If that’s you, bravo.
But if your class loves jumps and you enjoy teaching them, that’s also fine. Let’s examine how to perform them in the safest and most effective manner possible so your riders can still benefit from and enjoy their favorite move.
First, let’s look at three ways jumps should not be taught, then four different ways to teach them in the most effective manner. I will list those in the order of most to least cycling specific.
Three ways NOT to jump
How about you? Do you like to jump? Do you now have more ideas for adding effective jumps to your profiles?