Indoor cycling classes are definitely a great way to get in a good workout, whether you’re doing them in a Gym Group X class or at one of the latest new cycle studios like SoulCycle or Spark. But there are also a lot of mistakes people make on their bikes that can limit the effectiveness of your workout and put you at risk for injury. Here are 10 common mistakes people make in cycle classes and how to fix them.
Seat height is too high or low – It may be annoying to get on and off the bike a few times to adjust your seat, but it’s one of the most important keys to a safe and effective workout. The best way to measure the correct seat height is to stand next to the bike and adjust the seat to align with your hip bone. Then hop on the bike and reach your leg to the bottom of the pedal stroke; your knee should be only slightly bent when it reaches the bottom.
Your handle bar height is wrong – Most bikes, like HOIST’s LeMond Revmaster Pro Cycling Bike, allow you to adjust the handle bars both up/down and forward/back. Make sure you adjust both of these if needed. First adjust while seated, make sure you aren’t having to reach or stretch your back to comfortably reach the handles. Then try peddling while standing, if your knees hit the handle bars you need to shift the bars back some.
You’re death gripping the handles – If you feel like you need to hang on tight to the handles, there might be a bigger problem, you might be rocking side-to-side too much. You should be relying more on your leg muscles to keep you stable and balanced on the bike. Try to focus on tightening your core and using your glutes and quads to balance. A good tip is to remind yourself to check-in on your grip at the end of every song or every segment of the class.
You aren’t clipping in (wearing cycling shoes) – There is a huge difference in the muscles used when you cycle while clipped in versus just wearing athletic shoes and pedal cages. When you are clipped in you get the benefits of using your muscles for the push AND the pull. Your glute and hamstrings work during the pull to bring the leg through the rotation. If you aren’t clipped in you only work your muscles during the push and then use the momentum from the push to complete the rotation. If you do enough classes without clipping in, you might start experiencing calf or foot cramps.