Options for When Unable to Stand on a Spin Bike.

You can do a cycling class seated only – here are some tips with Tina!

For today’s VLOG, Cat Kom is joined by Tina, one of the SSoD writers, to talk about modifications she does while cycling. There are times Tina can’t do standing drills, and she noticed quite a lot of chatter from Komrades on the same topic, so she and Cat wanted to share some ways you can modify your ride and still get a great workout. Because you absolutely still can!

Why not stand?

There are many reasons you may not be able to stand while riding – injured knees, ankles, back, balance, just to name a few. Tina has degenerative disc disease in her low back, and some days are “just fine,” but when she has a flare-up, she needs to spend most of her ride in the saddle.

How to still get it done?

1) Mimic the intensity – By adding speed and/or gear, try to get to the same heart rate zone (or perceived exertion) as the intended drill. Remember that depending on the gear, standing may be “harder” or “easier” than sitting. When you stand, you’re sending up to 40% more power to your legs, BUT it’s harder on your lungs. For example, if you’re seated for a climb, you may need to take a tiny bit of gear off, but speed up a bit. But for sprints, Tina usually adds some gear when she stays seated.

2) Proper form – Can you actually stand and you just don’t know it? Before you give up on standing, check to be sure you’re doing it right:
     a) No: Gear too low, hips and upper body wobble.
     b) Yes: The upper body doesn’t move, legs have enough gear to stay in line.

Cat often reminds us, “Resistance over speed,” so keep that in mind as you do a form check. Tina will start a drill heavier and slower to stabilize and get her form adjusted as she tests whether she can stand, then adds intensity as she’s able. She can usually do climbs standing, but at 80-85 RPMs she finds it harder to keep her low back stable, which is when she typically adds modifications. 

Any favorite modifications?

1) Longer runs – For drills like 30 seconds running out/30 seconds running in the saddle:
When class stands, Tina adds ½ turn AND 5-10 RPMs.
b) When class sits, she takes off ¼ turn (half of what she added) and returns to tempo.

2) Shorter standing runs – For a fun way to get some movement and get your heart rate up, move or pump your arms (be sure to have enough gear to keep your balance).

3) Jumps – Since jumps tend to be in the 60-80 RPM range, you might find you can still do them (if speed standing is your issue). But it’s totally ok to modify the timing if the count is too fast. Take your 1, 2, or even 4 count jumps to 4, 8 counts. You versus you, right?

4) Hovers –  If you’ve got a bad back, the hover position may be tough. Take those to a simple up/down jump. If you can’t jump at all, try adding speed for the “up” part.

5) Push Up/Drop Backs – Tina had FINALLY gotten the movement down on this one shortly before having back issues (bummer!), but the speed just doesn’t work, so she usually will just shift her weight forward, then back on a 4 or 8 count. 

So can you ride if you can’t stand? Yes, you can! And we’ve got tons of great cycling classes where you can give it a try, at Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.