March 1, 2016

“Shoulder Punching” During Spins – Right or Wrong?

by Magna Gopal

Question: I tried the technique of shoulder punching; – would you recommend this for multiple spins? I seem to punch myself out of balance with this. It’s about powering oneself through punching the left arm across when one does a right spin. And the harder you punch, the more power you have to get around 2 or 3 spins. This did not work for me because I just punch myself out of balance. What you seem to be saying in your last emails is that the power of the spin comes from a faster prep, and not necessarily how hard you whack your arm across? Do you punch at all?

Answer: Now that I know what “shoulder punching” is, I can say that every spinning technique workshop I have ever taught does not involve this technique.  The reason you throw yourself off balance is because when you “shoulder punch,” you no longer move as a single unit.  Your upper body generates an uncontrolled amount of force for the spin and your lower body is forever trying to catch up. When you prepare for a spin, you want to move as a single unit (shoulders, hips and knees all pointing in the same direction). If you over rotate any of those sections of your body you will not have the same level of control.

The maximum you want to rotate in your preparation (for a right spin) is 45 degrees to the left. Any more than that is not only not necessary but it might also throw you off balance. Within that 45 degrees, you can play around with speed, how quickly you get to that point and how quickly you leave it.  The slower the arrival and departure from that 45 degrees, the slower the spin. The faster the arrival and departure from that 45 degrees, the faster the spin.

There are other elements such as spotting, leg positioning, and breath that also contribute to the control and power you have during a spin. Shoulder punching is generally something I avoid teaching and doing for the sake of keeping my body moving as one solid unit.

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