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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Latest Exercise Trend: Spinnovation

The latest exercise trend to hit Southern California provides a way to whirl your way through a workout.

There’s a coach and there’s a court. But the latest fitness trend isn’t about shooting hoops; it’s about spinning them.

Sam Tribble was introduced to spinning three years ago and immediately he knew it was something he wanted to pursue. The giant wheel, ranging between five and seven feet, works the legs, abs and arms and is the only thing needed to practice Spinnovation. It’s a full body workout. “After about fifteen minutes you feel like your whole body is sweating and you’re starting to feel your muscles getting worked,” explains Tribble, a Newport Beach resident. 

In addition to the body, the mind also gets a workout. 

“It’s definitely physical fitness but it’s also about making a mind – body connection,” describes Tribble.  “It’s spinning and you have to find your center and a lot of people aren’t in touch with that.” 

But luckily for people interested in spinning, the eye-catching activity has changed Tribble’s role from participant to coach.

“When I first started spinning I was really just doing it for personal exercise, really just trying to figure out the mechanics of it. But as more and more people started asking can I join you, can you teach me. I started making places to spin and meet up,” says Tribble. People of all ages and from around the world have joined Tribble on beaches and in parks across Southern California to learn the art of the wheel. 

“We met Sam at a festival and we just asked him you will be keen to teach us some wheel,” explained Joe De Carvalho, a French circus instructor currently training with Tribble. De Carvalho and his performance partner, Mathieu Melre, traveled to Southern California to stay and work with Tribble for three months. 

“We’re training hard on it. Pretty much everyday we go to different places and spin. We work very hard at it,” says Melre. 

But Tribble also teaches people who stroll off the beach and want to join in the fun.  Lisa Greene and her 10-year-old twins stopped to watch and Tribble and we’re asked to give it a whirl. 

After just one day, the twins we’re spinning away. 

“It’s good and it gets your arms strong. And it’s healthy!” exclaimed Brendan Greene. 

According to Tribble, spinning is as easy as riding a bike. “Someone can make progress the first day. It’s very instinctual in a lot of ways. It’s new but it’s engaging things that you’ve been doing a long time.”

Chris Lee, an mechanical engineer, says he began spinning with Tribble because it looked cool and allowed him to step out of his comfort zone. He even purchased a wheel so he could keep up the workouts. “It’s muscle memory and it’s challenging because I want to do things that I don’t have the physical strength for so I have to do some conditioning,” said Lee. 

While Tribble says spinning is still a hobby, between coaching and building and selling the wheels, which range from $1,200-1,400, he’s turned it into a business. 

“I don’t know if I ever want it to really be a business. But I enjoy it. It’s sort of like work, play” Tribble says with a shrug.

Because while spinning is good for the abs and the legs, it’s also good for the soul. 

Wherever Tribble and his crew of spinners happen to be, a crowd is sure to follow. At times it’s just a few folks snapping photos, other times it a full crowd that gets treated to a free show. “That was so kind and generous of them!” exclaimed Barbara Schulman, a teacher from FUTURES, whose students couldn’t stop clapping throughout the impromptu performance. 

For Tribble, Melre and De Carvalho, the performance meant just as much to them as it did to the spectators. 

“The energy they give was very nice and beautiful. I would like to keep going all day,” said De Carvalho.

“I love the opportunity to touch the people with a bit of what I love. To share my passion with other people,” added Melre who’s been teaching and performing with De Carvalho since they were teenagers.

Because whether they’re working their abs, or working the crowd, Tribble and other spinners gain just as much from the physical workout as they do from the mental one. 

“There are so many amazing people out there who want to do this or who just enjoy watching it, who want to be involved in some way,” explains Tribble, “that sharing it with others is just as great as doing it for yourself.”

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