You may think there’s nothing unique about riding an exercise bike — you just get on and start, right? Well, not quite that. To get the most advantage of the indoor cycle class without damaging yourself, it’s crucial to change your bike settings to fit your body and pay attention to your shape during the ride.
Place your bottom on the broadest part of the saddle. Tighten your hips forward and contract your abdominal muscles as you hit the handlebars. Your knees should be aligned with your hips and thighs, whether you’re in a sitting position or a standing position; your seat position can need to be changed if it flares out to the side. If your ass is sore or painful after your workout, your alignment could be wrong. Ask your instructor for assistance before training.
Properly align the upper body. You should keep your spine straight, not rounded, or slumped (make sure your handlebars are at the right high level so that you don’t feel the neck or back strain). Let your shoulders relax and down (meaning they shouldn’t touch your ears!). Keep your elbows slightly bent as you cycle and hold your elbows in line with your wrists and knees (no chicken wings allowed!). Try not to crouch your wrists too far, stop putting undue pressure on them, and do not keep the handlebars too rigidly.
Hold your weight on the pedals of your exercise bike. This means stabilizing the weight in the hips to keep your knees above the center of your pedals. Don’t lean on the handlebars while you’re sitting or standing; unloading your weight this way cheats you on some of the advantages you’d get from keeping your upright stance and puts undue stress on your wrists and forearms. Also, stop using hand position three when riding in the saddle.
Hold your legs flat. It’s a mistake to point your toes as though you were pedaling because it involves the wrong muscles. Instead, press through each pedal stroke with a flat foot, driving out of the ball of your foot, to reduce the pressure on your knees and strain your quads. In the same way, bring your knees and your toes up.
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Keep your head up there. If you leave your head flop or node over as you ride, you may set yourself up for neck strain — and partially inhibit the oxygen and flow of blood to your head, which can result in dizziness or lightheadedness. Keeping your head in line with your spine and neck helps ensure correct breathing and a constant supply of oxygen to your brain that can make you feel good and maximize your training outcome. The indoor cycling class is difficult enough without increasing the chances of feeling windy.
December 1, 2020