Indoor cycling – spinning - is one of the most effective workouts for both your strength and cardio abilities. To get the most from the workout, you need to make sure you are doing it correctly.
Get the most out of your next ride by avoiding these 5 common mistakes:
1. Not preparing your bike before you start
Before you start any ride, you should always alter the settings of the bike to ensure your body is in the correct position to train.
If your seat is too low, your legs won’t be able to reach full extension, so the power of each stroke won’t be as effective. Too high, and you’ll bounce your hips to fully extend, which can lead to knee and hip problems and detract from your workout.
Optimal position? Align the seat with your hipbone when you are stood on a flat surface next to the bike.
When the handlebars are in an incorrect position you can put pressure on your back, groin and shoulders.
Optimal position? Set your seat then make sure your handlebars are level with it.
2. Holding with the death grip
A tight, rigid grip of your handlebars causes in your upper body and wastes essential energy. Pushing that energy through your fists leads to problems in your shoulders, upper back and wrists.
Instead, you should be supporting your body weight with the big muscles in your legs. When you feel the burn, engage your core, tilt your hips back, squeeze your glutes and release your grip.
3. Using too little resistance
Spinning is tough. It requires both power and endurance, which is why it is important that you go at your own pace. But if you want to see positive changes from each workout, you need to push yourself.
Riding without resistance is the path to failure. Turn it up to feel the burn.
It’s also essential to prevent injury. When you’re cycling against minimal resistance out of the saddle, you risk damaging your hips.
4. Getting into Poor positions
Having your bike in the right settings will help you avoid a poor position whilst riding normally, but when you’re attacking climbs or taking part in tap backs you need to actively ensure your back, legs and shoulders are in the correct place:
- Climbs: start by holding the lower, outside part of the handlebars, opening your shoulders up for a strong bend at the hips. When you get tired and your back and shoulders begin to hurt, instead of losing your position, move your hands closer together to push your hips back and torso up.
- Tap backs: always keep your arms straight out with a slight, loose bend in the elbow. This will help target your quadriceps and glutes rather than your shoulders.
- Out of the seat: resist the urge to thrust your hips and body as close to the handlebars as possible. Instead, keep your hips close to the seat to help isolate your core and glutes.
5. Failure to stretch
Shaking legs, quivering glutes, cramping hip flexors, and a burning core are all the signs of a good workout. You’ve pushed your muscles hard, so make sure you look after them with a good stretch!
Take the time after every workout to stretch all your muscles – not just your legs. An effective spinning workout will use your whole body.