Get up Stand Up. Stand up for your Right. Don’t give up the fight. Or should I?

I have got a dilemma. An instructor dilemma.

I have a 50 year old gentleman come to my weekly class. I mentioned him in a previous post. He insists that he does NOT want to sit on the bike AT ALL. I tried to get an actual reason apart from “my butt is sensitive”, which he gave me. No such luck. He just looks annoyed and says: “I do all spin classes on the timetable (around 10 a week). I have been doing it for years. This is how I have always done it. I need my exercise to lower my blood pressure and lose weight and this is the only exercise I like”.

What is the problem you ask? If he wants to stand up and can do it, let him stand up. You see, that’s the problem: he cannot stand for 45min. His technique is so poor he can’t really do 30 seconds standing in a safe and efficient way. He has no resistance. He presses all his body weight onto his hands and locks in his elbows. His knees are permanently locked and he mashes the pedals heels down. ALL THE TIME.

I spoke to him nicely on a few occasions. I showed the technique. Tried corrections. Asked him to use the mirror. He does not take it in. He closes his eyes and does his thing.

When we are riding flat or intervals in the saddle – he’s up doing his thing. By the way he is permanently locked in about 55RPM – same speed for 45min… What is even more baffling is that when we do get up and do stuff standing – hill at 64RPM, hill at 70RPM, hill runs at 80RPM – he’s up doing his thing at 55RPM. He simply never joins in.

I suggested he tries padded shorts or gel seat – he said he had never thought about it. I showed him in 1:1 after class the right standing technique and his version. I explained how much long term damage he does to his knees, how his upper body gets stiff and loses him energy. He looks and then does his thing.

I offered a solution: “Do 2 songs on the bike working on your technique then when you need a break get off the bike I can come up with a core exercise for you”. Not interested.

I asked him last week whether he ever uses HR monitor. He says he doesn’t. I am thinking of lending him mine and the watch to show him what I can see with my naked eye: everyone’s HR goes up in the 6-8min warm up. He only gets there 20min in. And that is because his arms get tired as his legs definitely don’t. He never gets higher than HR zone 2. No need to mention power zones as he never has much power on. Shame the bikes the gym has are the old school Spinners with no consoles.

I feel really torn – clearly all other instructors are fine with the situation as he says I am the only one badgering him…

Here comes my question: in view of the fact that he’s is nit getting a workout, he’s damaging his joints long term and he sticks out like a sore thumb in the group (when I correct everyone else but not him) – do I ask management’s permission to ask him not to attend my classes or do I ignore him and let him do his thing?

14 thoughts on “Get up Stand Up. Stand up for your Right. Don’t give up the fight. Or should I?

  1. I have a woman in my class must be his sister. I’ve also tried and tried to help her – given her handouts – advise, everything I can think of – nothing changes. I would really like management to tell her that she can not come to class. I don’t think it is up to me to ban someone from class. They know who she is and what she does but just let her. I have a hard time with it as I know she is hurting herself and it is not my job to let someone do that but I feel like my hands are tied.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So I have a rider in my class whose saddle is too low, I have informed them many a time about bike set-up but they prefer their way. Should I banned this rider from my class? I have another rider who never places enough resistance on their bike when sprinting and legs go way to fast even though I coach them about power and rpm should I ban them? I have a rider who checks their phone all the time even when I use great lines like ‘it is time to get in the zone not on the phone!’ Which they are oblivious to. Another rider swings one arm whilst standing though I’ve informed them of poor technique, risk of slipping etc, but I have to continuously give them an evil stare to stop the behaviour. Should all these riders be banned from my class? Yes it is exceptionally frustrating when riders believe they know better than us. However are we wasting too much time on individual riders?What about the other riders in your class who are working hard, are they thinking ‘oh here she goes again the one on one battle in class’ ‘why is she not focusing as much time and effort on me to get me across the finish line?’ ‘So if you do something wrong you get individual attention but not if you’re doing something right’. Are they being put off by this personal war? Yes we have due diligence to all our riders in the class to keep them safe but if a rider isn’t 100% into my class I don’t give them a 100% of my energy. I reinforce my coaching points so if the ones doing their own thing get injured I have a whole room of witness who explain coaching points and questioning cues are used time and time again during the class. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. They are causing damage to themselves you are not causing them damage, yes we want to protect them and educate, but what about the riders who as they leave the gym spark up a cigarette, or head to the nearest bar for a well earned drink or two? They are damaging themselves against expert advice. Remember my blog where I wasted time and energy on the ‘hover’. Focus on the the positive riders the ones who are in the class and don’t waste your energy and enthusiasm on energy vampires who don’t want to learn. That’s just my long winded opinion. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Neil. Now I don’t make my class “only perfect form cyclists allowed” and have quite a few people refusing to change the seat height or listen to my advice on resistance and I learnt to be at peace with that 🙂 In this situation though every class is a car crash. I caught myself today not evening looking in his direction not to look annoyed. I can’t be bothered correcting him as it doesn’t register anyway. But as an instructor I feel that I am excluding him. Today he ran out of water. I took his bottle up refill it to show that I do see him and then thought: damn I robbed him of one genuine reason to get off that bike for a break! 🙂


  3. Hi Iza, this is definitely a dilemma for every instructor. Unfortunately we can’t ask reception to dissuade members from attending a class, although members can ask to fire instructors they don’t like! I have a couple of people in my classes who just don’t listen and if I dare offer my help or give suggestions regarding technique and bike settings, they look at me like I’m an alien. Initially I had the same reaction as you but after telling them the damage they’re doing to their bodies, etc. I’ve decided to ignore them. They know the risks related to their poor technique, they’re adult, you’ve warned them. If they end up injured they can’t blame your spin classes. What I’m about to say is politically incorrect but if they will injure themselves, that’s karma!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have two riders in two separate classes who do something similar. One is even worse – she wears headphones and does her own thing. I tried with both to no avail. You can lead the horse to water…..

    Like Neil said, focus on the ones who want to improve.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve done your due diligence. Up to you if you continue trying to teach him.

    Don’t kick him out.

    You can’t please all the people all the time and that person is currently in YOUR class.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: I really hope he did get it this time | Spinbella : Tales From the Spin Room

  7. I think the heart rate monitor is a great idea – you can only say something so many times, maybe that will be the proof he needs. Maybe try cutting a deal with him – “do it my way for half the class and I’ll stop pestering you!” Maybe if he experiences what you’re trying to tell him he’ll get it. I get the dilemma totally – there are some in my class that just do their own thing. I’ve accepted that if they have proper form – I’ll leave them alone. In your case, I would keep it up – keep telling him. “Mr so-and-so, I want you to get the most out of each class you come to. How can I help you?” I’m sure you’ve tried all of it already – but I think you owe it to YOURSELF to keep trying to help him. The ones that listen will always keep coming, but change this guy and you’ll feel rewarded yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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