Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hold a baby a standing flat!

The other day I was subbing a class at the Aria club in Vail (a club attached to the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa) and I had two hotel guests from Florida (in addition to one regular - numbers here are very small in summer). Both women are pretty fit. One is a frequent Spinning student, Linda and she talked her friend Sheri into coming along for her Spinning first class ever.

Before the class started, Linda was giving Sheri tips, pointing to the RPE sign, describing intensity and HR (she didn't have her HRM with her but said she always rides with one), talking about Energy Zones, proper position, etc. I walked over and said that she must have some darn good instructors, and explained that it is so good to hear her actually teaching her friend the correct way to ride in an indoor class. I say this because we get a lot of out of town guests at this club, and this is not always the case. We get some who say things like, "I have the best 'Spin' Instructor ever - she makes us take the saddle away!"

I gave her my card with this blog address, so hopefully she will pass them on to her instructors (and if so and you are her instructor reading this, please let me know)!

As usual, I really enjoy having newbies in my class. I try to make sure I make it interesting for the experienced riders at the same time as I am explaining proper form for the basic movements we do in Spinning. Since Sheri is a fit hiker, she really did well her first time, with just a few things she'll need to work on formwise as she gains experience.

I have my own cueing that I've used for various movements and positions, but Linda shared one with me that I want to pass on to you. We were doing a standing flat (run) and I was explaining to Sheri how it's important to hold on to the handlebars, but not in a death grip, nor do you want to lean on your hands. My favorite cue is to imagine that you have water balloons under your palms. I tell students "wrap your fingers around them, so you squish them a bit, but don't pop them!" This helps people realize they must pull back their weight off their hands and into the legs. We also don't want to be 'perched' on the handlebars, up on your fingertips like you're drying your wet fingernails either. Fingers should be wrapped around the handlebars, but comfortably.

Linda said, "In golf they tell you to hold a baby bird when you hold the club."

Yes! Can you imagine it? In golf, if you have a death grip, you will never smoothly hit that little white ball with any control. On the other hand, if you don't have enough grip, the club will go flying out of your hand. Pros tell their clients to imagine holding a baby bird, firm enough to keep it there, but not tight enough to crush it.

If your students are golfers, they may really understand this cue.

This also shows us that we can transfer cues from many other sports to help our non-cycling students understand what it is we are teaching them. Does anyone reading this have any examples of cues you've borrowed from other sports? If so, please let us know by clicking the comments link below!

Thanks Linda for teaching me something new! I hope to see you and Sheri in my Spinning class again in the future. Tell your instructors to keep up the good work and to come to WSSC and say Hi!


Jeff said...

Thanks for sharing your learning experience. I am going to add it to my cueing on Sunday! It is really amazing when your students get it. I had a newer student a few months ago, who I set up, whose seat had moved, and was causing her to ride improperly. I had a member call me off my bike, and whisper in my ear about the problem, so I could correct it. Amazing, I saw it is!

Shannon said...

Love the cue about the water balloons & the baby bird. Thanks for sharing. :)

John Decker said...

Hi Jennifer! As a former avid golfer, this is a technique that I've always utilized on the bike, even mountain biking. In golf, it keeps one relaxed while initiating the swing. It has the same use in cycling- to stay relaxed, reduce tension and promote better breathing. In fact, there are many other skills/strategies that I learned in competitive golf that I carry through to my riding. I always draw analogies between the two!

Jennifer Sage said...

Thanks John.

I remember way back when I first learned to ride a mtn bike, maybe 1990 (I was already a roadie) I would complain about my wrists hurting after a ride. Duh, with the way I was gripping, it was no wonder! I learned to relax my grip and flow with the movement and voila, the wrist pain went away.