Molly P. asked, “In my Spinning® training, I always learned never to touch someone else’s resistance, but I know another instructor who does it all the time, and I’ve seen some instructors in the online forums saying they sometimes do it. What do you think? Is it dangerous?”
This is a great question. My thinking on this has actually evolved over the years. As a Spinning MI, we always taught instructors to NEVER, ever touch someone’s resistance knob.
And while I believe that’s the best advice in almost all cases—because you must train your riders early on how to modulate their resistance themselves—it’s not always quite so black and white. I can think of three scenarios where you may want to help a rider out by turning the resistance for them.
The first I think you’ll all agree with, and that is in the case of a true emergency. Fortunately, I’ve never heard of this happening, but if you notice your rider is in some serious trouble (as in a medical emergency), then by all means, hit the brake for them. They may not have the capacity or awareness to do it themselves.
The next two only come after you’ve exhausted all efforts to get them to make whatever change you’re trying to affect. Keep in mind that adjusting their resistance is usually a one-off tactic to educate them and is not something you should do more than once or twice with anyone.