View Full Version : Favorite form cues or pet peeves

01-15-2006, 08:22 AM
Hi guys!

In my classes January is "Back to Basics" month, and this week we're concentrating on form. (I always pay attention to form, but have warned my classes that this week I'm going to be extra picky! :))

What are some of your form pet peeves? If you were going to be super-picky, what would you be picky about? What form cues do you find yourself giving repeatedly? And, even more importantly, what form cues have you given just once or twice before your riders "got it"?

My list of no-nos includes things like...

Head not in line with spine
Teeth clenched
Shoulders hunched
Shoulders not relaxed and down
Elbows locked
Wrists bent
Pinkys sticking out
Pulling forward when standing
Toes clenchedThere's more, but you get the idea. What do you look for when you want your riders to be perfect?


01-15-2006, 02:53 PM
Well, being that there is so many new spinners (we just introduced the program at one place I work) to my gym, I am finding the initial challenge for them being knowing how much resistance to place on their flywheel when getting out of the saddle so that they are not being "taken for a ride" by the bike but instead having their weight over the pedals and not all on the handlebars. So I'm frequently mentioning to add a little more than they believe they'll need right now when they stand up and that they can always remove a little once they are out of the saddle. This just takes time for them, but we still need walk and talk them through it. I sometimes ask them to "play" with their resistance before we even start class to get them to feel what they need to make changes. Especially since bikes vary.

01-16-2006, 04:46 AM
What are some of your form pet peeves? If you were going to be super-picky, what would you be picky about?

A very topical question! I am super-picky, while allowing for the bad habits of beginners, and will stress technique in every class. My main two bug-bears are:

(a) those that think they're emulating Lance Armstrong by hunching over the handlebars so much that their head is in front of the flywheel and all their weight on their forearms; and :rolleyes:

(b) those that bounce up and down, usually when out of the saddle. Some refuse my cues, seeming to think that it's proper form to do a hill climb with no resistance, bouncing up and down like Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout. :mad:

Favourite cue for me HAS to be "if you can, add more resistance" - there's always room for more! :D

01-16-2006, 08:44 AM
Form in general poses a challenge for all of us as instructors. While allowing for minor variations, my biggest pet peeves are individuals that keep their weight forward of the pedals, use their handle bars for support and "bounce" when standing. Usually all of these are present in the same rider so here are my cues:

1. Keep you weight back over the pedals. You should be able to feel the nose of the saddle lightly brush the back of your thighs.

2. Add enough resistance to be able to stand over the pedals and not need to use the handle bars for support.

3. Take the bounce out of your pedal stroke. Try not to feel the bottom of your pedal stroke when standing. Push the other pedal over the top of the pedal stroke while you try to drag your foot through the bottom of the stroke. Stay engaged with the pedal at all times.

01-24-2006, 01:47 PM
Shoulders relaxed - okay, elbows bent, sure but what do you mean wrist bent?

01-24-2006, 09:52 PM
You have a robins egg under your shoes. Please don't squash it.

Big circles with your legs. Don't push and pull. Slide and glide. Knees to elbows.

slight hill : do you fill it in the back of your legs
Bigger hill: Are your glutes engaged, do you feel your hamstrings. Are the quades working?

Tough Hill : Is it burning. Are the legs working together. Can you say more than 5 words without breathing tough. Then it isn't tough. Let's get tough. Let's get strong. Let's win. Legs I need you to work. Are you working to win? :eek:

01-25-2006, 12:11 AM
Wrists bent (my interpretation) is when a rider doesn't keep a neutral flat wrist - if they've got bent wrists on the handle bars then they are generally forcing too much pressure on the wrist joint.

In addition to everyone else's peeves, it drives me nuts when people get tired and start leaning onto their handlebars on their forearms, despite my directions against doing so. My big worry is seeing someone's arms slip out due to sweat and smashing his/her mouth on the bars :eek:

01-26-2006, 09:57 AM
I see. Thanks for making that clear.

01-26-2006, 02:21 PM
Yeah that leaning on the handlebars thing drives me crazy. laziness, pure laziness.
But more often I than that, I see riders emphasizing the down on while standing so there bobbing up and down. I say if you were riding in your attic with a low ceiling don't bonk your head. UGGGGGHHH!

01-28-2006, 12:46 AM

I've been riding outdoors forever, riding indoors about three years, teaching for 2-1/2. So my memory is still kind of fresh.

I did not know how to ride out of the saddle. Of course I could ride standing on the outdoor bike, but that was either uphill with a different bike angle, or sprinting or surging on the road bike. Yes, I rode a lot of long hills, but I either sat and grinded, or stood and "sprinted." Kind of Jan Ullrich's style, but that's being a little too generous.

It took me a few weeks to figure out the weight distribution and core activation to be able to ride standing indoors, without leaning on the handlebars. It really helped my outdoor riding, as I can now stand and spin uphill for as long as I need to.

It takes time for some people to learn the weight-off-bars thing. You probably know this but just in case...

And when I'm riding-not-teaching, I sometimes ride so hard that I need to lean a little on the bars. Just a little. It's not laziness, it's true exhaustion! Of course, I cue other riders who do this to get their weight off the handlebars anyway. :)


01-29-2006, 03:28 PM
Deviating from the current theme of form for a moment, I would like to mention talking as the one thing which I absolutely cannot in any capacity stand. A few words I both expect and welcome, but those who hold conversations I cannot tolerate. One class right after I started teaching, two young girls sat and talked for thirty minutes straight. I had finally had enough. They had not even listened to any requests for quiet. So I figured that if they can't breathe, they can't talk. Needless to say, for the rest of class, those two were doing well to suck air. :D

Also, I have a female student who fancies using her iPod during class. And she's not like some of the cyclists that you get that sit off in the corner and ride, she will take them off during recoveries, but whenever we go back to work, she puts the buds back in. I haven't said anything about it. It doesn't bother me enough to; at least she's not talking.

Perpetually bothered by others' bad habits but not by his own,