You climb on your spin bike for a workout, but find that it feels really uncomfortable.
It’s much harder than you imagined, and feels like you’re trying to cycle through thick mud.
Is spinning supposed to be so hard? While spinning can be intense and vigorous, it shouldn’t feel impossible or make you sore!
If that’s what’s happening to you, you need to ensure that you spend a bit of time before your next spinning session adjusting your bike so that it will feel more comfortable. Not sure how? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
How To Adjust Spin Bike Saddle
Check the bike seat height. The bike seat, or saddle, needs to be at the right height so that you can cycle comfortably. If your saddle is too high, this will cause a lack of leverage, but if it’s too low this will put pressure on your knees and can result in pain. A good way to settle on the best seat height is to stand next to your bike and make sure the saddle reaches your hip bone. This is generally the best saddle height for most people.
Don’t forget the saddle angle. Once you’ve adjusted the height of the spin bike seat, you might think you’re done, but you have to adjust one more thing – the angle of the saddle. Some bike saddles are positioned centrally, but they should be adjusted forwards or backwards to better accommodate your height. This is to ensure your knees are aligned properly.
So, sit on the saddle with your hands resting on the handlebars and the balls of your feet positioned on the pedals.
Make sure your pedals are in such a position that they’re level with each other. When you look at your leg, imagine a line that’s moving from your knee – your kneecap should be directly above the pedal’s center. If it is, then this means your seat is adjusted properly.
How To Adjust Your Handlebars
It’s not just your seat that’s important to adjust. Your handlebars also need to be adjusted.
They need to be in the correct position and at the right height to ensure your shoulders are in line with your hips and elbows. This will prevent pressure being placed on your neck and back. It also allows you to cycle more powerfully.
That said, if you’re recovering from a recent back injury or have back problems, your handlebars will feel more comfortable if they’re a bit higher.
Another point to bear in mind is that you want to touch the handlebars with your elbows being comfortably bent. Your arms should never be too extended or in such a way that your elbows are too bent, as both of these scenarios will make cycling much more uncomfortable.
Try placing your elbow against your seat and move your seat forward so that your finger is able to touch the handlebar. This will give you a comfortable seat angle.
Don’t forget about the position of your feet!
Once you’ve adjusted your seat and handlebars so that they feel comfortable, you will also need to ensure your feet are in the correct position.
You need to ensure everything is aligned. Your toes, ankles, and knees need to be pointed forward. Your knees need to be aligned without bowing out as that will put pressure on your IT band, which is a group of fibers that move from outside your hips to the outside of your thighs and knee all the way to the top of your shinbone.
Keep your feet flat when pedaling on the bike and don’t point your toes down.
Pro tip: Before cycling, you should sit on the bike and check that your knee only has a slight bend (a 25 to 35 degree angle) when your leg is extended to the pedal. This will prevent your knee from getting squashed when you’re pedaling.
Do you need to adjust your spin bike every time you use it?
If you’re the only person using your spin bike at home, you won’t need to adjust your bike every time you use it. But, it will be beneficial to regularly check that everything’s in order.
If you’re taking a spin class, you will need to adjust the spin bike every time you use it, so always make sure you arrive early to give yourself enough time to do so.
How To Increase And Decrease Your Spin Bike Resistance
When using your spin bike, you’ll have to increase and decrease the bike’s resistance. Spin bikes will have a resistance knob to enable you to do this.
It’s usually located between the handlebars. You must turn the knob to the right if you want to increase your resistance and intensity, and then turn it to the left if you want to decrease them.
Some spin bikes will also have gear numbers that go all the way up to 16 levels. However, most knobs that are on these bikes won’t be marked, which can make it a bit trickier to know what resistance you’ve set.
If you’re using a spin bike at home instead of in a spin class where the instructor will let you know more about the intensity and how to achieve it, such as by turning the knob once or a quarter of the way, it’s best to focus on what feels good for you.
No matter what the resistance number or level is, what’s important is that you pay attention to increasing your resistance and pace when it’s comfortable for you.
Is Speed More Important Than Resistance?
There’s much attention paid to spin bike resistance, but speed is considered to be more important at times.
If you’re battling on an incline, for example, dropping your resistance but maintaining the same RPMs will ensure that you can do a greater amount of cycling faster – and it will give your leg and core muscles explosive power.
That said, you should still work with some resistance to increase the general power. A good tip is to improve your skills when you’re cycling at a lower resistance, then maintain the resistance to improve your fitness.
When you reach the point of pedaling over 120 RPMs, you should increase your bike’s resistance. This means that you’ll be able to work out more muscles during your spin class or session at home.
Now, when you’re in a spin class and your instructor tells you to start climbing uphill, this is a good point in the class to increase your resistance by one or two levels. Stick to RPMs around 60 to 80 speed. It’s also good to know that pedaling between 80 and 110 RPMs will give you a comfortable cycling experience.
Troubleshooting Your Spin Bike Setup: Stop Feeling Pain!
You might think that spin classes are intense so you’re bound to feel some physical pain.
While “no pain, no gain” is a good motto to bear in mind to improve your fitness, you shouldn’t be feeling discomfort or pain from using your spin bike. Here are some ways to ensure you stop feeling aches and pains.
If you’re feeling back pain or neck pain: it’s a good tip to raise your handlebar height. You should also ensure that you’re not overextending your arms to reach the handlebars.
If you’re feeling knee pain: first, note what kind of pain you’re experiencing. If you have pain outside the knee, lower the height of your saddle or move it forward a bit. On the other hand, if you have pain on the front of the knee, raise the saddle or move it a bit backward.
If you’re feeling hamstring or hip pain: you should lower your saddle. This could be preventing you from having a wider range of motion. It can also be hurting your knees.
What is considered good posture when using a spin bike?
You should make sure your hips are slightly forward, and you have a bit of pressure on your back, wrists, and knees. Your back and shoulders should be slightly rounded.
Do you need cycling shoes?
Cycling shoes will ensure your feet remain in the ideal position during cycling, and they’re much better suited to cycling than regular shoes. They can clip into your bike, therefore helping you make the most of your spin session.
Before you can start making the most of all those spinning benefits, like huge calorie-burning potential, you need to make sure you adjust your spin bike so that using it feels more comfortable.
Just because spinning can be intense and fast, it doesn’t mean you should accept the pain that comes your way!
Often, if you’re feeling discomfort and pain after a spinning class, those are signs you need to adjust your bike. After reading this article, you now know exactly how to do that.
Billy Hughes is a fitness trainer based out of New York. She has registered success in training clients at multiple fitness centers and thus aims to establish her module relevant to the post-pandemic era. Her space, Cerevellum.com, is an attempt towards encouraging and educating more people on the scope of indoor fitness. She believes the power of fitness can transform attitude, personality, and way of living. She also finds it rewarding to help people achieve their goals and make their lives better.