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  • Writer's pictureDr Susan Baxter

Im….. spinning around!

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

It’s just a stationary bike, right?

Nope, there is a lot more to a spin bike than your average aerocycle.

In fact there are a number of common pitfalls that could be costing you some of your efforts in vain, or worse still, contributing to injury or overuse problems. Find out what these are, and how to fix them. 1. Dress up: Loose-fitting clothing can be dangerous. Although many modern spin bikes are designed not to allow items to get caught in them, do not tempt fate. Furthermore, it can be distracting you from achieving your best concentration. 2. Footwear: Cycle shoes are optimal for the class as they allow you to incorporate both the “push” and the “pull” of the pedals. It also allows you to focus on breathing and pushing further in the class. If you are not able to invest in some cycle shoes, ensure that you clip yourself well into the stirrups for maximum stroke security. You should be pushing down (quads) and pulling up (hamstrings) 3. Undies: Ensure that you select a natural fabric, as this is more conducive to sweat whisking and resistance to bacterial growth (yucky). Women, whilst you might be sitting down but you do still need a correct sports bra since the breasts will still experience bounce during the various focuses of the class. 4. Be early: You need enough time to set up your bike, and preferably to warm up on the bike (allowing you to re-adjust if you have not quite gotten the setup right). 5. Seated up: stand next to the bike and position the saddle to approximately your hip bone. Then after securing the seat, sit in the saddle and test that you can extend one leg at the bottom of the peddle stroke with a flat foot and a soft knee. If your seat is too low, it puts a lot more strain on your hips and knees. Too high and it can cause you to lose range of movement and strength on your peddle stroke. 6. Move the seat forward so that you can easily reach the handlebars without too much of a tilt. As you become more of a seasoned indoor rider, you might look to be further away, but until your body adjusts to the position of pedaling, sitting too far away from the handlebars puts a lot of strain on the lower back since the abs fatigue quickly. 7. Sit upright: Your handlebars should be slightly higher than your seat when you are first commencing class. This elongates your spine and helps to protect your back. It also helps to reduce pressure on your groin… (need i say more on that?) 8. Technique: Ensure that each stroke allows you to be using your whole range of movement and that you are not pointing your toe towards the bottom of the food stroke. This can cause unnecessary tension in your back. Instead, push your booty back to the back of the saddle, and press through your heel to ensure that you have a flat foot at the bottom of the stoke. 9. Stop! Emergency brakes should be used to stop suddenly or to rapidly slow down. The bike has a momentum carrier which means that if you try to stop the pedals (like you would on a regular bike) you actually put an incredible amount of pressure throughout your knee joint. 10. Ouch! If your knees bang into the emergency brake, your saddle is too far forward. That also means that you will be unnecessarily recruiting your arms instead of your core and legs (bigger muscle groups and your target muscles!) 11. Listen up! The instructor will tell you what you should be doing and when…. they describe the terrain and the amount of resistance required. If you are supposed to be climbing a hill, the resistance should be cranked up and your pedals should be hard to move. 12. Bumpy terrain? If you are bumping up and down in the saddle, you need to increase the resistance. Resistance is where you can really charge up your calorie-burning potential. Cycling should always occur with resistance as without resistance it puts you at risk for damaged joints. 13. Wait for me! If your resistance is too high, the sign will be that you cannot match the beat of the music or the same rhythm as the instructor. 14. Pendulum swing! Resist the urge to add a side-to-side bump to aid your pedaling. It throws your body off balance and therefore you retaliate by using a hardened grip on the handlebars (which is not helpful). Keep your elbows close to your sides too (don’t let the elbows splay out) as this can actually cause less core work! 15. White knuckle ride? The handles are there for stability, not to cling to for dear life. A gentle reminder can be just to open your hands mid-track. 16. Stretch baby! A rookie mistake is to leave before the stretches. Stretches will be kick-starting the recovery process. It also is the opportunity for you to give back to your body

Now remember…. enjoy 🙂

If you like what you read, I do have a series of Ebooks you can find here. I have designed these to inform and educate with real no-nonsense information about how to live a sustainably healthy life long term. It is the tool kit and knowledge that you need to make your own informed decisions for long-term health.

Finally, check my other posts HIIT workouts and how to speed up your results.

Thank you for reading.

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