I know you hardcore folks out there are ready to take a pickaxe to the ice on these roads and trails just so you can ride outside again, but I’ve come up with something way better.

Spin class may be an option for some of you, but frankly, I would have to be pretty desperate to go back there.

Adult gymnastics.

You laugh – and so do a few others who say those two words should not exist in the same sentence. Just know that it’s so much fun that you won’t even realize that you are using muscles you never knew existed. I promise that your body will be sore for four days after class, providing you a detailed anatomy lesson.

We start class by stretching together, and that alone is an important thing most people avoid making time for. Next comes conditioning. This is strength training for specific muscle groups necessary for tumbling, swinging from bars and rings, jumping on trampolines, and diving into crash mats and foam pits.

“Foam pits?!” you ask. Oh, yesssss. In fact, the foam pit is at the end of a long trampoline track. You know all of those flips you always wanted to do off the diving board but were too scared to try? Well, next summer you’re going to be the life of the swimming hole with all your new moves.  Now that’s something worth training for.

The best part is that learning this stuff uses a lot of proprioceptors, which are crucial in cycling and mountain biking. Proprioceptors are the sensors in the muscles that provide information about joint angles, muscle length, tension and spatial positioning.

The people taking this class are all different ages and degrees of flexibility and strength. Everyone’s got their own reason for being there, and only a handful were ever gymnasts. By the end of the first class we usually get everyone to do a backhandspring at least once. That’s one of those tricks where you jump backwards into a handstand and end up flipping the rest of the way over onto your feet.

The floor-ex mat is a large springy floor that protects knee and shoulder joints, so you really feel like superman running around on it. Plus, it’s so padded that if you land on your head, you’re only a little dizzy.

You know how some people used to love roller coasters as a kid but as an adult they cause profuse vomiting? Well, that’s because the inner ear is beginning to crystallize, preventing the little bones in there from floating around doing their job balancing the entire body. The only way to avoid that crystallization is to spin around or go upside down once in a while.

Ooooooh….I’ll bet a bunch of you just tested that theory and ran into the coffee table or door frame.

Come do it in a safe environment on Thursday nights at 7:30 at Phoenix Gymnastics on Coxe Avenue across from the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co.