For Instructors

HP 1 - a moment to release.

I have to admit that when HP1 was introduced to me, I hated it. I was lifting weights back then, and despite being a woman, I have the shoulder breadth of a linebacker, and to place my hands in HP1, I felt rigid and constricted. At my first continuing education workshop however, about 6 months after my orientation, I asked about it and was told that HP1, with its narrow contact on the bike encourages a more rhythmic upper body and the connection of the hands flows and recycles energy. I thought that that sounded a little new-agey, but was determined to learn to do it, even if I would never learn to love it?and guess what?.I love it. I coach for it at the start of some (but not all) classes ? especially Endurance classes and other classes that get a long contemplative warm up. I was listening to the BBC on the radio yesterday and they had a piece about reducing student anxiety prior to tests and one thing they did was compare the test results of two groups. The first group was told things like ? ?How well you do on this test will determine how much money you get for taking the test?? ?Your family is counting on you?? ?Passing this test will help change the statistics of your gender or your age group or your race?? They put high pressure on this group and they did predictably not so great on the test. The second group met before the test and talked about their anxiety and they were given 10 minutes to write an un-graded piece about their fears and anxieties. The researchers took a lot of the pressure off the test takers, reassuring them that the results were not important that they just wanted to know what the students knew. This group did remarkably, and predictably, well. The researchers concluded that if the students were able to dump their fears and anxieties on paper, it freed up their brain to perform better on the test. It got me to think about the purpose of a warm up ? if you could consider the test as the challenging ride ahead. I wonder if instructors who are known for just slamming their clients with a heavy hitting 40 minutes to an hour of hard, loud work are really missing the point behind a warm up. To be able to sink into an environment, where the pressures and stress of the other hours of the day are non-existent, where it is safe and quiet and dim for the eyes, I believe, is a real virtue of an excellent Spinning® class and program. Just to be given space to quell the busy-ness of the head seems like a gift to offer the riders before you. The warm up for the class becomes the cool down for the rest of the day and allows the body and the mind the freedom to explore. I still don?t force people into HP1, but I encourage dabbling until they realize that the benefits of indoor cycling aren?t only based on high-intensity performance every time they mount up, but focus, patience and openness.
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