Mistakes You May be Making On Your Exercise Bike and How To Avoid Them
This entry was posted on June 12, 2018.
Getting the Benefits from Bikes
Spinning, or indoor cycling, is a fantastic way to get the blood pumping, burn off those pesky calories, and tone up. Workouts that utilize exercise bikes are both high intensity and low impact, which is essentially the perfect combination for a workout that gets the job done without the risk of injury.
Fitness programs based on exercise bikes have become one of the biggest trends in the fitness industry over the last few years. Bikes provide a stimulating, high energy way to get in a killer cardio workout without having to bang out yet another boring treadmill session.
Whether you’re working out solo at home or partaking in group cycling classes, the hype and energy of cycling programs can make it easy to get carried away, and as fatigue sets in you may find yourself failing to maintain proper form and function.
While you may never forget how to ride a bike like your father taught you decades ago, properly mounting and riding an exercise bike is a different ordeal altogether.
You may have been under the impression that properly riding an exercise bike was easy… and it is. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect proper form or maintenance.
It’s important to take into account that you may be making some simple mistakes on the exercise bike that could be causing your workouts to be less effective, or worse, you could be making mistakes that are setting you up for an injury waiting to happen.
Whether you’re just starting out with spinning, or whether you have been doing it regularly for several years, it’s easy to make mistakes. If you’re not paying attention to your form, you could potentially injure yourself without realizing it until much later.
Common Bike Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
#1 Failure to Properly Set up Your Bike
If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: A bike that has not been properly set up is prime real estate for bad form. Unless you adjust the bike to your specific height, it’s nearly impossible to cycle correctly.
If your seat is too high, you run the risk of overextending your knees, which will put undue pressure on your joints, hips and back. If your seat is too low, you’ll strain your lower back and knees, and your quads will end up doing the work instead of your hamstrings and glutes.
A properly adjusted seat should be at hip level. When pedaling, your legs should be outstretched at the bottom of the rotation and your thighs should be parallel to the ground at the top of the rotation. The handlebar should be on the same plane as your seat or higher. If you plan on attending classes at a studio, you can ask the instructor or another staff member to help you determine the proper adjustments for their specific bicycles. Just be sure to arrive extra early to class so that there’s enough time.
#2 Proper form matters
Once you’ve properly set up your bike, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using correct form while riding it. Poor posture while riding can cause muscle fatigue to set in much more rapidly, which will cause soreness. And while we all love that “good burn” from a solid workout, pain is not conducive to gain, and if you push too hard you can do more harm than good.
Improper form may also prevent your muscles from receiving the amount of oxygen that they need to burn glucose. Strive to maintain a relaxed posture, while keeping your buttocks on the seat and having a slight bend to your knees. Gently rest your hands on the handlebars, rather than having a tight grip.
In order to make sure that you have an easier time drawing oxygen into your lungs, remain seated in an upright position. You may be tempted to lean forward when you’re tired, or really in the zone, but this decreases the amount of air you can inhale. Leaning forward also makes it easier to round your shoulders, which may suppress your chest, as well as cause stiffness in the neck and shoulders. It’s a lot to remember when you’re in the groove, but maintaining proper form will spare you lots of pain and discomfort later on. Trust us.
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#3 Using too high or too low of a resistance level
It’s imperative to use the right amount of resistance so that you build muscle without causing injury, muscle overuse or having to utilize poor form to struggle through. Some cyclists focus too much on speed and ignore resistance altogether, which means they are missing out on the incredible strengthening benefits of the bike. Likewise, other cyclists go too hard too soon with resistance, and end up injuring their knees and hips or causing damage to the bike.
Play around with the settings based on the duration and style of your workouts and routines to find the levels that you can accommodate while keeping proper form.
Workout Bikes In A Nutshell
Exercise bikes are an incredible way to get an effective, low impact workout no matter your level of skill or athletic prowess. They are versatile, adjustable, and can fit into a wide range of exercise programs to build up cardiovascular endurance and muscle tone. But in order to have the best experience possible you need to sidestep some common yet easily avoidable mistakes. We hope that you found this article useful and that you’ll take what we said to heart.