Student defends aggressive shoulder movement in standing climb

ICA member Margaret has a student who overdoes her swaying motion when in a standing climb and claims she does it to “gain momentum.” Learn how to address someone who is overly aggressive in their upper body movement. ICA member Margaret sent in this question:

When I ask my students to stand at the top of a hill climb…usually for 30 seconds…and then sit down, their upper bodies have a natural sway. However, there is one student who overdoes it when swaying back and forth. I always give cues to the group and at the end of the most recent class taught she asked me why she shouldn’t be doing that move. Her explanation for doing so what to gain momentum. She has indicated to me at an earlier time that her knees are not in the best shape and I have noticed that she always adds too much resistance. I would appreciate an answer to the above so that I can pass it along to the student and give my class a reason for my cueing.

Many thanks, Margaret

P.S. Love your articles…always find something new to pass along to my students.

Margaret, first of all thank you for your comment—I hope to be able to do everything I can to help instructors address the questions or actions of their students! And thank you for this question about the excessive movement while in a standing climb. You have two questions here—I’ll answer the second question about resistance and knee pain in another post soon. I have another similar question on that and will put them together.


  1. Hello Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for your answer…it was honest, clear and to the point! I now have something to share with my class that makes sense to me and to them. Keep up the great work! If you are ever in Toronto, come and visit RPM.

  2. Great points but off the cycling track for a moment, if you watched the Olympic women’s distance track events, the winning African women swung their arms side to side in a rotational motion until the tempo picked up enough where they needed the assistance. I hated seeing this as I coach my runners to pump forward and back. Joke is on us because those women won both the 1500 and 3200 meters. Now I dont know what to do, haha. Truthfully, I will continue on as before (just as Jennifer writes) and work forward, not rotational. Ride on!

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