Studio Review: Turnstyle

Today I went to my first spin class in months and my first class in Boston in years. I definitely hold Boston fitness classes to a higher standard than when I am in a small town in Maine or off in a third world country. Unfortunately, my expectations may have led to my disappointment.

I arrived to the studio and was delighted the front desk staff was so friendly and inviting. She provided me with shoes and asked if I needed any help with my bike set-up. Generally I always arrive to classes early but I had trouble finding parking and was right on time. This meant the lights in the classroom had been turned off and it was almost impossible to see. I felt around in the dark for the knobs so I could adjust my bike seat and handlebars. I am not used to such a dark studio but it definitely ensures nobody will be gawking at you or judging you during your workout.

The playlist was perfect for my taste and that is a major key in my spinning motivation and really keeps me from getting bored or tired. The only issue was that the music was louder than the teacher’s microphone so there were many times I couldn’t hear what she was telling us to do but quickly figured it out.

My main disappointment was caused by the “choreography”. The class quickly began out of the saddle and with what looked to me like head banging push ups on the handle bars. I immediately cringed. All I could think of is the unnecessary stress the instructor was putting on her body and the terrible form she was encouraging her students to mimic. This was a trend in the class. There were several different moves that didn’t really improve the workout but I assume they were put in to keep people from getting bored. I tried a couple of the moves but found just focusing on my form and truly engaging my core gave me quite the workout without adding in any compromising moves. We did one song with light dumbbells but only did front raises for about five minutes straight. We brought our arms straight in front of us at shoulder level and just pulsed at different tempos. It seemed silly to only work our shoulders when there are a wide variety of exercises that could have been used but I’m not sure what to think after just one class.

The instructor gave us words of encouragement but not a single cue about form. Most people are in a seated position most of the day, have a forward head from looking at screens and phones, and tight hips that pull on the lower back which means spinning just replicates these bad postural problems. Without proper alignment spinning can do more harm than good, especially when you add in crazy push ups and jerking the head forward.

I have to say that I felt comfortable doing what was best for me and not what the rest of the class was doing, I got a sweaty cardio workout and felt great driving home. I will try Turnstyle again but I will be checking out other instructors in hopes that they do care about form and injury prevention.

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