Did you know that your posture matters a lot in spinning?
It's true.By setting up your bike correctly and understanding the basics of how your muscles work as you ride, you can improve your performance, get a better workout, and meet your fitness goals more effectively. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your next spin class.
Correct Saddle Height
If your saddle is positioned too high or too low, you'll lose some of your ability to adequately recruit muscle groups. For instance, if your saddle is too low, you'll lim it the range of your quadriceps and make
it harder for the hamstrings to support them. Many variables affect an indiv idual rider's proper saddle height, but in general, your ideal saddle height allows for full leg extension, but not hyperextension.
Saddle Fore-Aft Position
If your saddle is positioned too far forward or back, you won't have the balanced, neutral center of gravity you need and you'll be encouraging imbalanced muscle recruitment patterns. Look for a position that allows your quadriceps to work fully as you pedal downward, and also facilitates a smooth transition to your glutes and hamstrings as you lift the pedal back up. Try aligning the center of the knee over the center of the pedal at the front of the stroke for a good joint-neutral starting position.
It’s important to make sure that you position your handlebar within your range of motion. If you don’t, you’ll be stretching beyond your capabilities, and you won’t be able to pedal as smoothly. If your handlebar height is too low, for example, you might exceed your hip flexion range and lose momentum and energy at the top of the pedal stroke. A position like this is also uncomfortable, and if you’re uncomfortable, you aren’t going to be able to ride as efficiently.
Correct positioning of the saddle and handlebars is important, but it's ultimately up to you to hold your
posture in a way that allows for maximum muscle efficiency. Pedaling efficiently lets you apply power with your large muscle groups without overusing them. Focus on the following when setting your posture for your next ride.
Develop a Rapid Cadence
Especially when you’re a new rider, a slower cadence can sometimes feel more powerful. However, the truth is that this is simply a technique and muscle memory issue. With a slower cadence, you’re more likely to depend on single muscle groups, and it will be more difficult to use momentum to transition to all your available muscle groups as you pedal. If you aren’t sure, aim for a cadence of 90; this target will
help most riders develop a balanced, efficient stroke.
Position Your Pelvis
Properly Rotate your pelvis forward, but not too far. You should position your hamstrings at a 90-degree angle to your pelvis for them to work effectively. Think about what happens when you stand up out of a chair: you rotate your pelvis forward and engage your hamstrings to allow them to
balance your quadriceps as you stand up. It works the same way on a bike; rotate your pelvis forward enough to engage the hamstrings, but not far enough that you notice uncomfortable pressure at
the nose of the saddle.
Use Your Core Muscles
Not thinking about your core as you ride is a common mistake. Youcan significantly improve the power
and efficiency of your pedal stroke by accessing your core muscle groups. Your obliques, as well, can help stabilize and support your torso and pelvis and ease the strain on your neck, back, groin, and hands.
Think in Circles
Make sure you're thinking of pedaling as a circular motion rather than just
a lever motion. You'll produce the majority of your power at the front of the pedal stroke (as you push the pedal down), but at the back of the stroke, think of unweighting your foot rather than pulling or yanking it. This can help you avoid lifting the weight of the opposing leg as it is engaged in the active part of its stroke.
Getting your bike setup right and focusing on your posture while riding can help you teach your muscles to work in harmony with each other. That means you’ll use less energy, be more comfortable, and take longer to become fatigued. All these things translate to a longer, more enjoyable ride with better results, including endurance, strength, and overall fitness.