Anyone familiar with the rise of boutique cycling studios can tell you that these classes are not like your typical Spin class. You better come prepared to move up, down, and side to side, all the while matching your pedaling stroke to the beat of Beyoncé. Chances are you’ll be asked to “tap it back.” Looking around the room, you might think that tapping it back is a spastic jump where, from a standing position, you thrust your butt as far back as you can while fully extending your arms, only to jump back up seconds later — repeating until you feel like you want to die. Or so I thought; turns out I’ve been doing tap-backs wrong, something I learned alongside my classmates in SoulCycle’s Soul 101 class. The three-class Soul 101 series takes students through the fundamentals, from setting up a bike to understanding the intricacies of more advanced moves — tap-backs, for one.
As our instructor Lindy Flowers explained, instead of pulling your body up and down with the momentum of a jump, think of a tap-back as a standing ab crunch — a subtle movement. You begin a tap-back in third position: riding while standing up with your hands toward the top of your handlebars. Lindy advises that while riding in this position, don’t lean too far forward — knees should remain behind the feet while your hips are positioned over the seat, glutes engaged. To tap it back, engage your lower abs, and without momentum, slowly curl the hips back as your chest moves toward the floor. The movement shouldn’t appear big or jerky, and your arms shouldn’t extend themselves more than they already are (just a slight bend in the elbows). As you release your abs, your body will naturally pop up, says Lindy. And if you’re not yet comfortable riding while standing up, a tap-back is still within your reach! Lindy says it’s just as easy to do this movement on the seat; just be sure to bring your hands a little closer toward you to avoid back strain.