Indoor cycling studios may be causing more harm than good. An industry that was meant to attract exercise enthusiasts looking for a rigorous and fun workout is now finding themselves with a boatload of lawsuits. From pushy instructors to malfunctioning equipment, cycling studios are putting riders at unnecessary risk for physical, emotional, and psychological injuries.
Spinning classes are meant to be high-intensity workouts that can be extremely dangerous for beginners when studios neglect to prioritize safety. Any Long Island or New York City resident looking to sign up for a spinning class should understand the risks and how to spot an unsafe studio before it’s too late.
Why Spinning Injuries Occur
Injuries sustained in spinning classes can be serious enough to lead to permanent damage. Most spinning injuries occur during a rider’s first class, either from overexertion or improper riding postures. Other injuries are caused by preventable accidents due to unsafe or improperly maintained equipment.
An article published by Business Insider highlights these factors as the leading causes of spinning injuries riders need to know before booking a seat:
In an attempt to step outside of the box, some studios have begun to offer ‘dance spin classes.’ These classes incorporate dance moves riders use while on the bike that are not only unproven to help you stay fit, but could be unsafe.
There are several moves these classes are encouraging that could lead to injuries:
- Bobbing up and down:Moving the rest of your body while pedaling fast has the potential for causing lower back injuries.
- Pedaling with no resistance:Simply pedaling is not enough to get your heart pumping, and it could also be harmful on joints and muscles.
- Standing on one pedal:This move has resulted in many riders falling off their bikes, or putting too much pressure on the pedals which lead them to break over time.
Aside from the physical damages sustained from unsafe classes, riders are being cheated out of their hard-earned money and fitness goals. Instructors at spinning studios who offer dance classes are considered ‘performers’ rather than coaches; facilitating moves that are entertaining and fun but do not help riders meet their goals of getting in shape as they claim.
Poorly Set Up and Maintained Studios
Studios do not always create the safest atmosphere for spinners. Crowded bikes can leave opportunities for riders to strike or knock each other off. Ventilation and cooling systems are also not always up to par, leaving riders at risk for sustaining heat illnesses with the inability to cool down.
The bikes used in spinning studies are unlike traditional pieces of workout equipment at the gym that see an ebb and flow of users on occasion. Spin bikes are used rigorously for prolonged periods of time, multiple times a day. Wear and tear on these bikes is frequent without proper upkeep, leaving optimal opportunities for injuries due to a bike malfunction.
The Indoor Cycling Association highlights a number of stories featuring riders with various stories of how they were injured on a spin bike. Some riders fell over handlebars on bikes that collapsed because they were poorly set or broken Others experienced terrifying drops mid-ride when faulty seats gave way during workouts.
Riders are not the experts when it comes to spinning classes. It should be up to the instructors and the owners of these facilities to maintain their equipment and coach riders on how to properly set up their bikes before the class begins. Unfortunately, this responsibility often falls on the participants to guess and hope their bike does break during their ride.
Spinning instructors are there to provide guidance and to keep riders safe, not to cause more harm. Some spinning class instructors never leave their bike to provide feedback or help realign riders when they use unsafe posture. Others ask riders to pull stunts on their bikes that can lead to falls and traumatic injuries.
One of the reasons why some cycling instructors are causing physical harm to riders is a lack of knowledge regarding anatomy and physical fitness. Business Insider reports cycling studios such as SoulCycle, a studio known for crazy dance routines on spinning bikes, openly admit their instructors have no background in fitness. Not only are they unable to provide useful tips for proper riding positions throughout the class, but they also may not realize the moves they are requesting from participants are bad for their overall health and safety.
Additionally, several reports have been filed against instructors who are causing verbal and emotional harm to participants paying to be in their class. One spinning lawsuit published by The Hollywood Reporter described a rider suffering from ’physical and mental pain’ at the hands of a rude instructor. The rider who attended the class, taught by spinning celebrity coach, was humiliated by the public feedback she received during class. So much, the rider sustained a stress injury attempting to keep up with the group to avoid any further ridicule in front of her peers and employer she was taking the class with.
Ignoring First Time Riders
In a number of spin classes, first-time riders are encouraged to seek bikes in the back. This is the opposite of what studios should be doing.
New riders need to be able to see instructors to learn how to ride correctly in order to prevent injuries. Riders who are in the back and do not know what they are doing may go the entire class using improper riding techniques that could lead cause significant bodily harm.
Most Common Spinning Injuries
Riders can experience a range of stress injuries from spinning classes from using improper positioning, pedaling techniques, or equipment. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine admits some spinning injuries are so severe they are comparable to the trauma experienced by car accident victims, leading to both external and internal damage.
Rhabdomyolysis is a serious condition affecting the muscles, caused by a significant lack of oxygen. Doctors usually see these types of injuries after car accidents but have reported a growing number of cases in recent years associated directly to spinning.
Spinning uses the two largest muscles in the body: the gluteus maximus and quadriceps. When used at an intense rate, such as during a spin class, the lack of oxygen to these muscles causes them to breakdown and release their contents into the bloodstream. This can then lead to life-threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest or kidney failure.
Other stress injuries experienced by indoors cyclists highlighted by Medscape include:
- Handlebar Palsy:This condition is caused by irritation of the ulnar nerve in the hand or elbow from holding the handlebars of a bike for too long or by directly pressing down on the drop handle.
- Neck Pain:Riders who are in a traditional forward flexed riding positions can experience neck pain when they are forced to hold their heads up for prolonged periods to look at an instructor.
- Lower Back Pain:When riders are bent forward, pressure can be put on the lumbar spine that can lead to pain and discomfort in the lower back.
- Bicycle Seat Neuropathy:A condition caused by prolonged use of narrow bike seats that leads to compressed nerves between the pelvis and the seat causing discomfort.
- Saddle Sores: This condition is a breakdown of the skin from pressure and friction against the seat. In combination with moisture, these sores can change from mild chafing to ulcers.
- Cycling Knee: This condition arises when riders overuse the muscles in the knee and cause repetitive friction between the kneecap and thigh bone.
- Hot Foot Syndrome:This syndrome results in a burning and tingling sensation felt in the feet caused by the compression of the smaller nerves in the foot against the pedal over and over, or the improper positioning of feet on the pedals.
How To Spin Safely
If you are looking to try spinning for the first time or simply to switch up your class, do your research. Search for a studio that has great reviews from first-time riders who are not fitness junkies already in shape. Make sure the studio is supportive, does not have a high rate of accidents, and provides additional services such as free rentals and water.
Once you have found a studio worth of your safety standards, Well and Good offer the following suggestions to reduce injuries:
- Give yourself enough time to set up your bike correctly. Never try to make adjustments while riding. If you need help, ask a staff member or instructor. If they are unwilling to help, find another class.
- Understand the resistance function.Riding with too little or too much resistance can cause your body harm. Know how to adjust the resistance and learn to build it up slowly.
- Don’t get tricked into trying harder.Instructors are paid to keep their riders motivated. But this does not mean you have to listen. Take your time and don’t push yourself working harder than your body can handle. If an instructor is bullying you or calling you out, stop the class, and report the behavior.
- Don’t cycle on an empty stomach.Going to spinning class hungry or dehydrated can set you up for serious injuries and the possibility of fainting while on the bike.
- You don’t have to stand up.If your instructor wants you to leave the saddle (seat), only do it if you feel safe. Riding too quickly while standing can lead to falls, even for veteran riders.
- Pick a class that’s best for you.Not all cycling studios are made equally. If you feel comfortable or safe after a spinning class, there are plenty more to choose from.
NYC and Long Island Spinning Accident Lawyers
Cycling studios have a duty to provide safe and healthy environments for their riders to reduce the chance of injuries. Spinning accidents caused by negligent studios and instructors are unacceptable. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another, our team at Siler & Ingber are here to help. Our personal injury attorneys have over 20 years of experience serving clients across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery.
Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using our past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.