excessive upper-body movement

Magic Coaching Minute: Excessive Upper-Body Movement

Jennifer and Tom discuss some of the excessive upper-body movements found when standing during indoor cycling classes and how to coach your riders to proper form.


  1. Thanks to everyone for their comments and kind words (and ideas for future articles and videos)!

  2. hey guys. Great explanation, it looks like you both had a bit of fun doing this video. thanks for the tips!

  3. Great job you two! Good points Gloria smart idea to reinforce with problems that can arrise while using bad form… like knees out putting pressure on outside of knee can cause issues, etc…

    I always tell riders proper form on the bike is like using proper form when lifting weights, there is a right way and a wrong way, then I do my best to lead by example.

  4. So of course, I love the content and see this all the time and try to coach where I can. Can you also address some of the problems people can expect to experience if they continue with this type of form? I see the “wag the tail” movement and can only imagine the forces in the lumbar area where the upper and lower body are going in two different directions.

    1. Gloria, this is a great question as well. The problems can manifest differently depending on the individual and their specific strengths and (incorrect) approach. Overuse injuries to joints and muscles is the most likely affect, but usually encountered much later and often incorrectly disassociated from the movement on the bike. Much of the potential issues will depend on the amount of force a person is applying during these movements. As we know, many people will not use the required resistance (often less). This doesn’t put them in the clear, but changes how the stress may affect them. With heavy resistance, the stress is applied inline with the movement and when the muscles are attempting to contract heavily to sustain the force and protect the joint (alignment). With little resistance, the stress is indirect, but equally as dangerous as the muscles are often not engaged fully (because they are not in demand) but yet the joint is being incorrectly manipulated. This can happen in a number of ways, but the simplest, example is the force generated by the heavy weighted flywheel on the joints of legs, when inadequate resistance is used. This force is attempting to open and expand the joints in a way that is not natural or commonly counteracted by the muscles. Of course, as I’ve just written this long reply, realize this is probably a great Ask the Expert topic. 🙂

  5. Great tips! Keep them coming.

  6. Thanks! Always useful information!

  7. Author

    Dan, I think it’s your computer. Try another browser and/or turning your computer off then back on.

  8. Love the stuff at the end. Thanks; good tips.


  10. I have seen all of these! Thanks for the tips on cueing–I especially like talking about keeping certain body parts on the same plane.

    What I find tricky is helping those folks who KNOW they are doing it (shoulders esp.), but they can’t seem to stop! One rider in particular is really working to improve his faster cadences in the saddle, but he hasn’t yet been able to quiet his shoulders–they are trying to keep up with his feet. We talk about it, and he’s interested in the tips I offer…but it’s a slow process. Any more ideas on that one would be appreciated!

    1. Shari, we can definitely help people pedal faster, more efficient, and more powerful, such as the rider in your class. This is the intersection of many of the pieces of education we provide at ICA. It is a combination of pedal-stroke technique, muscle activation, relaxation, and power production. The geek in my is drooling all over himself 😉

      Jennifer and I will be discussing the best way to present this and will certainly keep you in the loop. Thanks so much for the comment.

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