One woman claims she fell off her bike, "catastrophically" injuring her ankle, after her instructor mocked her for slowing down during her first spin class
A California woman is suing SoulCycle and popular celebrity instructor Angela Davis for negligence after she was allegedly "shamed" and "mocked" for not being able to keep up, causing her to fall off her bike and "catastrophically injure" herself during her first class.
According to court documents, Carmen Farias felt her legs begin to weaken 20 minutes into her first class, after performing a move with dumbbells in the standing position on her bike. She claims that when she tried to slow down, Davis began "mocking" her personally, telling her and the rest of the class "we don't take breaks," People reports. Her lawyer explains that the "shame" of getting "called out" made her pedal faster to keep up, which caused her legs to start shaking.
"Carmen was in serious peril. With the music blaring and in the shadowy darkness, Carmen was isolated on her spinning cycle. Her feet were locked to the pedals and the pedals just kept turning. Fatigue and disorientation overcame Carmen and she fell to her right and off of the saddle of the spinning cycle," her attorney wrote.
After being unable to stop or un-clip herself, Farias apparently dislocated her ankle repeatedly. As her attorney alleges in the lawsuit, "by the time the pedals did stop, Carmen had been catastrophically injured." Farias claims that her fall and injury were due to SoulCycle and Davis's negligence in not instructing her properly and not safely designing and maintaining her bike.
While it's TBD what the court will decide on this one, it's true that spinning for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience (see: The 10 Stages of Your First SoulCycle Class). That's why showing up early to properly set up your bike—and find out how to safely stop and clip out— is key. And, as this case proves, it's also always a good idea to chat with your instructor beforehand and give them a heads up that you're a newbie.
There are also certain form tips to keep in mind, especially while in the standing position on your spin bike (as Farias says she was when she began to experience weakness in her legs). For example, as New York City-based SoulCycle instructor Kaili Stevens shared with us, it's important to stay in the balls of your feet while standing and think about lifting your pedal stroke, rather than stomping down in order to relieve your quads and help you feel more stable.
Other tricks from spin instructors to make it through class? First and foremost, breathe! (Holding your breath only makes the workout harder.) It's also important to up your resistance—spinning your legs as fast as you can won't do your body any favors and could cause you to lose control.
If you take anything away from this scary experience, let is be that trying to keep up and pushing yourself past your limits is never worth an injury.