While on a recent trip to South Korea for work I had the opportunity to attend a spin class at one of the local gyms.
It least I was told it was a spin class and at the first look of the studio you would think the same thing.
I met up with the guys from the office and we entered what looked on the outside as some random building entrance with big signs and neon lights all in Korean. I would have never guest it contained a gym. Maybe a nightclub and bar?
As we climbed the stares to the 4th floor I paid my 10,000 won fee at the counter and were offered a locker for our things. We were a little early so I looked around.
The spin studio didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary at first glance. It had the instructors bike in the front corner and about 20 bikes spread around the room all pointed to the instructors. Next to the spin room was a room with a black and white checkered floor. There were few guys warming up stretching and then going into break dancing moves. Turns out they teach break dancing there as well.
I set my bike up for a hard spin session and got on for a little warm up. The guys from the office warned me that it was a tough class. The instructor came in and just as the class was about to start one of the guys states that there is a coordination challenge with some moves and not to fall off the bike. I figured he was joking and preceded to do the stretching routine the best I could. Everything the instructor said was in Korean so I had no idea what was going on all I could do was watch and imitate. Then… She reached back and hit a switch on the sound system. That’s when it got crazy.
The lights went dark. The music was loud and strobe and disco lights came on. We started peddling fast out of the saddle then all of the sudden the coordination comment made sense. As the music lyrics started the instructor started making movements that resembled doing push ups on the handlebars in the various grip positions. Then she started waving her hands and moving side to side. It was truly like watching an Asian cartoon with my kids where they have a cheesy dance routine at the end of the show. Except it was for every song. We leaned right, left, down, up. Hair flip which is really hard when you’ve never had hair to flip making it a very awkward movement. Some where in the middle we got a one minute breather and then around minute 50 we were finally sitting down just spinning. I was drenched through my socks having maintained an average HR similar to sprinting on the road. I didn’t fall off the bike and I was partially successful at following along. By the time you saw something happen and could copy it the moves would change seemingly random because they never repeated. That’s when I realized it was dance moves. This is also when I saw the back of the instructors shirt that said Cycle Gymnastics so as soon as I got back to the hotel I had to look it up and find out if this was just some unique thing I stumbled into or something more. Turns out it’s a big sport in South Korea.
If your ever in South Korea you should check out our or just google Cycle Gymnastics and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I enjoy trying new things when I travel and this was intense.