You may think that you just sit down and start pedaling with a bike. But pay attention to proper posture and other ways to get the most out of your exercise bike.
- Pedal with very little ankle movement, and remember to both push and pull up on the pedals for a better ride.
- Balls of your feet go over the pedal.
- Slight bend in your knees--about 5-10 degrees. You should be able to pedal comfortably without pointing your toes to reach full extension.
- Avoiding knee pain
- A seat that is too high can result in pain in the back of the knee.
- A seat that is too low or too far forward may cause pain in the front of the knee.
- Improper foot position on the pedal (or improper cleat alignment) can cause pain on the inside or outside of your knees.
- Another cause of knee pain is using too high a gear. Try to use a gear that allows you to pedal quickly, from 70 to 100 strokes per minute.
- Neck pain is another common cycling complaint, and is usually the result of riding a bike that is too long or having handlebars that are too low. Tight hamstring and hip flexor muscles can also cause neck pain by forcing your spine to round or arch, and your neck to hyperextend.
- Foot pain or numbness is often the result of wearing soft-soled shoes. Special shoes designed for cycling have stiff soles that distribute pressure evenly over the pedal. This also helps you pedal more efficiently. Foot pain can also be caused by using too high a gear, which results in more pressure where the foot meets the pedal.
Upright exercise and spin bike only posture
- Your bike seat angle should be level to support your full body weight and allow you to move around on the seat when necessary. Too much upward tilt can result in pressure points. Too much downward tilt can make you slide forward while riding and put extra pressure on your arms, hands and knees, which can lead to injury.
- To adjust the seat height, wear your biking shoes and riding shorts and place your heels on the pedals. As you pedal backwards, your knees should fully extend in the down position. If your hips rock side to side the seat is too high.
- You can also adjust the seat forward and backward (the fore/aft position). With your feet on the pedals and the crank arms parallel with the ground, the proper position will put your forward knee (more specifically the patellar tendon) directly over the pedal axle.
- If the handlebars are too high, too low, too close, or too far away, you may have neck, shoulder, back and hand pain. A proper reach allows you to comfortably use all the positions on the handlebars and to comfortably bend your elbows while riding. A general rule of thumb is that the handlebars should obscure the front wheel axle; however, this is not a hard and far rule. Raising the handlebars higher reduces neck and lower back stress. There are other, more advanced adjustments you can make, such as changing the handlebar width or height.
By adding more resistance, you can simulate hills and inclines, and engage your hamstrings and glutes more than riding with light resistance.