Stationary bike form

Hello

Can anyone give me advice/opinions please?

I have recently got more in to cycling on my stationary bike. I’ve been following along to cycle classes online and up until now have mostly been staying in the saddle. The last few times I’ve been bringing myself out of the saddle a bit during my rides but I’m unsure if I’ve got correct form and how much it matters. I know correct form is important though.

The instructor gives reminders such as to ensure hips are over pedals, which I believe they are but the instructor seems to be in lower position than I am, closer to the saddle. If I lower to the same position i find I’m holding on tighter and pulling on the handle bars more for stability than if I’m more upright. Does this matter? Could it cause injury? Or damage to bike? (It’s a fairly inexpensive bike tbh)

Should I continue to be more upright until I maybe acquire more strength, could that be the issue? Also while cycling along today I felt more pressure in my ankles. (This is the first time I’ve done a whole ride out the saddle when ever the instructor was)

I’m thinking I should try to copy them and if I can’t hold the position I should drop back in the saddle maybe?


Thank you

Replies

  • AsthmaticHippo
    AsthmaticHippo Posts: 62 Member
    Check you saddle height. If it is too low then you will have a big distance from bum to saddle. Your leg should have a slight bend when the foot is at the 6 o’clock position. This will mean that when you are stood your bum will only be a few inches from the saddle (just enough to straighten out the leg). You tend to move your hips forward so you bum is just above the nose of the saddle

    Your upper body can be how you feel most comfortable. Personally simulating climbing (high resistance low cadence) I will be more upright with a lighter grip on the bar. Simulating sprints (high cadence high resistance) I will drop my upper body down to get more leverage from the bars
  • minstrelofsarcasm
    minstrelofsarcasm Posts: 2,195 Member
    edited January 2021
    Hi!

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a spin instructor, but I've done almost 800 classes at this point.

    Your hips should be over the pedals for the majority of the ride, that is correct. The big thing is to keep your core engaged and your spine straight, otherwise being out of the saddle may lead to back pain. The lower position you're seeing with the instructor is most definitely due to core strength, and if you aren't there yet, don't sink that low. It could lead to injury, and if you're gripping on the handlebars that tight, it's actually less effective than being more upright.

    Generally:

    Hands should be light on the handlebars, and are there for balance, not holding your bodyweight up.
    Hips should be near or over the saddle if possible.
    Knees should not pass the handlebars (unless your legs are very long, in which case, do what feels right)
    Try to pull your shoulders back - holding tension in your shoulders can also lead to injury.

    I’m thinking I should try to copy them and if I can’t hold the position I should drop back in the saddle maybe?

    Yes! Do that. You can always pop back out of the saddle after you catch your breath and try again. No matter how long you're out, it's an improvement to where you were when you started. My first year of spin classes, I took things eight seconds at a time.

    I also noticed that my seat needed to be raised and my handlebars needed to be lowered as I got stronger. So, the spin instructor's "low" position could also be due to their bike set-up.

  • Soul_To_Squeeze
    Soul_To_Squeeze Posts: 29 Member
    Thank you for taking the time to reply, asthmatichippo that’s a good point about the seat. I’ve had a look at the seating on my bike. Its at the height where there is a bend in my knees and my feet can fully touch the ground. I’ve just had a go at putting it up a notch and only the balls of my feet can reach the floor and I think maybe that is too high?

    I could try it higher but when I got the bike I was getting knee pain and realised the seat could be the issue so I moved it (slightly up or down can’t remember, I think I moved it up) which did sort the knee pain.


    Thank you minstrelofsarcasm for the information. I will look out to see if knees cross handlebars next time. I think they come inline with handle bars. I’ve reasonable leg length, probably not very long.

    I think next time I will drop back if I’m finding I can’t stay in that position, and over time Im sure I will get there.

    Thanks again
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    Thank you for taking the time to reply, asthmatichippo that’s a good point about the seat. I’ve had a look at the seating on my bike. Its at the height where there is a bend in my knees and my feet can fully touch the ground. I’ve just had a go at putting it up a notch and only the balls of my feet can reach the floor and I think maybe that is too high?

    I could try it higher but when I got the bike I was getting knee pain and realised the seat could be the issue so I moved it (slightly up or down can’t remember, I think I moved it up) which did sort the knee pain.


    Thank you minstrelofsarcasm for the information. I will look out to see if knees cross handlebars next time. I think they come inline with handle bars. I’ve reasonable leg length, probably not very long.

    I think next time I will drop back if I’m finding I can’t stay in that position, and over time Im sure I will get there.

    Thanks again

    Reaching the floor (or not) is irrelevant for an indoor exercise bike beyond getting you to a rough start point from which to fine tune things - it's the distance from your seat to the pedals that matters, not seat to floor.

    Doing the "standing next to the bike, top of the saddle is level with the bony protrusion of the hip", thing will generally get you to a rough ballpark area on an unfamiliar bike but you can do better than that with your own bike.
    Beware that the following article is more aimed at cycle training indoors rather than Spinning. They are similar but there are elements of both that don't crossover (such as aero riding position for outdoor cyclists or running with resistance for Spinning). If you are training indoors and doing more standing cycling and happen to find higher bar position easier and more comfortable then go for it.
    https://support.wattbike.com/hc/en-gb/articles/115001849069-General-Wattbike-Cycling-Position-and-Set-Up#:~:text=General Wattbike Cycling Position and Set Up 1,(depending on fitness and ... More items...

    Standing cycling can be hard on knees so build up progressively and absolutely don't hesitate to drop back in the saddle if you are struggling.
  • Soul_To_Squeeze
    Soul_To_Squeeze Posts: 29 Member
    Hi sijomial

    Thank you for the reply and the link. It has given me ideas on how it should be. I have a very standard fold out bike with not a lot of fine tuning available. There are 6 adjustment options on the seat to adjust height and it’s set pretty high.

    The seat is not at hip level it’s mid way down my the top of my leg and even on the highest setting I don’t think it would be near hip level.

    I notice that my knees do not go past the handle bars when seated, but do when off the saddle. Not sure if that matters?

    I do find it more easier and more comfortable in a higher position but notice my legs straighten out fully during this position is that fine or should there always be a bend in leg while cycling?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    You have a problem if your bike doesn't have enough adjustment to fit you when cycling.

    Legs should not be fully straight and I'd be surprised if you don't have some flex while standing cycling with a reasonable cadence as that would be really uncomfortable. As long as your knees aren't clashing with the the handlebars I wouldn't be worried about whether they go past them or not, especially if your bike is a bit basic and sounds like it's made to be compact.

    Here's my very quick set up I use on a new to me bike in a gym.....
    Align pedal cranks with seat tube, adjust saddle so that when your heel is on the lower pedal your leg is just going straight (which means when you shift your foot to the normal pedalling position you always have a slight bend).

    Then I adjust the fore/aft position of the seat by using my wired headphones as a plumb line. With pedals at 3 o'clock / 9 o'clock position the groove beside my patella should be over the pedal spindle of the forward pedal.

    Brief test ride to ensure I'm not bouncing or rocking on the saddle. Adjust handlebars for comfort.

    PS - proper cycling shoes and pedals with cleats make a huge difference for me and help keep everything in line.
  • Soul_To_Squeeze
    Soul_To_Squeeze Posts: 29 Member
    Thanks again for the reply. I took a break from my bike for a few days. Back on it last few days and you’re right I do have a slight bend in each leg when standing.

    I think the bike can fit me. (Not quite as you describe but again it’s really basic, maybe it’s just not so much for standing rides.) I increased the seat to try it out but put it back to where it was. If it’s not causing pain where it is at least I can use it.

    Anyway just thought I’d say cheers for the advice. I’d like a better bike but all fold out bikes look pretty much the same as far as I can see.