What is a Run With Resistance?

About 5 years ago, I was teaching my Loop de Loop profile as a Master Class at a club in California. Loop de Loop is a mountain bike simulation. I had a segment that included a “Run With Resistance”. (For those of you who are not Spinning® certified a “RWR” is like a standing flat with more resistance, with the hands on tops of the bars. This is known as “Hand Position 2” in Spinning® parlance). One student was riding in a standing climb with his hands on the sides of the bars every time we stood up on the steep hill that was “supposed” to be done as a “RWR”. I was walking around the room coaching, and suggested he move his hands back to the tops of the bars. He looked at me quizzically and asked, “Why?”

I looked at him blankly, and was stumped. I did not have an answer that made sense. There WAS no reason why he “had” to put his hands there! In fact, when you look at biomechanics of where your hands are most effective when standing on a climb, leaving them on the tops of the bars does not make sense. Not from a practical or a cycling perspective, and since effective biomechanics do not change from a cyclist to a non-cyclist, they also do not make sense from an indoor-cycling-never-ridden-an-outdoor-bike perspective either.

I have to say that moment was a turning point for me and it was when I began to challenge some of the things I was teaching. Why do we do what we do? It has to make sense from a biomechanical and effectiveness point-of-view. When we ask something of our students we should have a valid reason for doing it, something that improves their effectiveness and ability to do something. If not, then we should question why we are doing it.


  1. It’s funny…as a long-time cyclist, I initially used my outside grip in Spinning classes. I was corrected a few times by various instructors, and learned to conform once I became certified, but although it gave me pause, I never questioned why we did RWR. I can’t wait for my class in the morning! I feel liberated!

  2. It always felt a bit false to me, and I’ve rarely taught it for that reason. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thanks!

  3. This makes absolute sense. I am living the conflict of going back to my class and change the way I teach RWR.

    Thank you for bringing this up!

  4. Make’s sense to me!

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