Spin it To Win it: The Ultimate Guide to Proper Spin Bike Form

spin class

It’s just like riding a bike… so it can’t be that hard, right? Wrong!! Proper bike set-up is so key, so that’s why I, Cat Kom – founder of Studio SWEAT, am here to tell you exactly how to set your bike up for your build. It’s also a good idea to watch the video at the bottom if you have a minute. Then when you’re done, there’s no better practice than taking a Studio SWEAT onDemand online class so do that next. You can get a free trial right here if you don’t have a pass. Don’t worry, it’s truly free – no credit card required. K…here we go!

At first glance, a Spin bike looks pretty simple. You put your feet on the pedals, sit on the seat, grab the handlebars and go for it. But if you’re really looking to build up muscle effectively and crush your ride each time, you gotta know how to execute the proper bike posture. Focusing on everything from the way you set up the bike to how you’re positioned on the seat will ensure you’re reaping all the benefits spin has to offer. So, here’s your guide to achieving proper spin bike form.

Adjust the Bike

Before you start riding, the first step is setting up the bike. Spin bikes are adjustable for a reason – they’re not one size fits all. Don’t be afraid to get in there and play around with it. First, adjust the seat height. Match the height of your saddle to be parallel with your hip as a starting point. Then hop on and test pedaling a couple of revolutions. When your leg is extended and your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, your knee should be somewhere between a 5 and a 20-degree bend. If the knee is bending too much, raise the seat height. If it feels like your knee is locking out, lower it. 

spin bike pedals

Next is the fore-aft position of the seat. When your feet are equal distance from the ground you should find your forward knee right over the top of your shoelaces.  

spin bike setup

And don’t forget about the handlebars! Veteran riders often have the handlebar height the same as the seat height. The lower the handlebars are, the more core strength it’ll take to keep proper form. So if you’re just starting out, consider moving them up while you build up those abs. Trust us, it won’t take long. Some bikes often also allow you to adjust the fore-aft position of the handlebars. That position is strictly for extra comfort, so keeping your elbows slightly bent, just hinge forward from the hips and lean forward to rest your hands (or forearms) on the handlebars and make sure it feels comfortable. 

spin instructor

HUNDREDS OF BODY-SCULPTING CLASSES | Sign up for your 7-day free trial now! Feet 

If you feel your feet fall asleep while riding, know that is not normal. Usually it means your foot is too far in the toe cage, or if you’re clipped in it might mean your cleat is not in the proper position. Just remember that the ball of the foot should be centered on the pedal. Oh, and either wear cycling shoes or stiff bottomed athletic shoes. Free Runners and Spinning are like oil and water. 

spin shoes

Get Seated Correctly

The last thing you want is to come out of a great Spin session with hips so sore you can barely walk. To prevent any unnecessary pain and ensure you’re working all the right muscles, sit your butt on the widest part of the saddle, and make sure to keep your hips even. Reaching that perfect Spin bike posture often takes a little trial and error, so if you feel like you’re sitting incorrectly, keep adapting until it feels right!

Align Your Upper Body

Although it may seem that gravity will naturally help keep your shoulders down, it’s actually quite the opposite. If you find your shoulders saying hello to your ears a little too often, you may be setting yourself up for some serious neck pain. Aim to keep your shoulders down, relaxed, and in line with your elbow and hips. Make sure your back is straight (which may require moving those handlebars) and keep your head held high.

Stay in Control

Now that your bike is adjusted and you’ve got your seating position down, it’s time to start pedaling. That amazing rush of getting into a rhythm and building up speed can cause any amount of focus you had on your form to go right out the window. As much as we enjoy the enthusiasm, controlling your movements is crucial for gaining strength safely and effectively. Keep your feet flat on the pedals, and push down through every rotation to take the pressure off of your knees and quads. Plus, it’ll help you stay balanced and keep the urge to death grip the handlebars to a minimum.

Engage Your Core

An amazing playlist and the high energy filling the room can really make you wanna let loose. We totally get it, and we love it. But you also have to be sure you’re getting a well-rounded workout while doing it. So don’t just make your legs do all the work – try to propel your movements from your core, and really engage those abs. This will help you keep your stamina up and not get winded so fast. Spin can be hard enough as it is!

Want to see a video demonstration of proper bike setup? Check out this video!

Next time you’re getting a little too into that killer spin session and your feet start to come off the pedals or your grip on the handlebars gets a little tighter, just remember that a small tweak in your form can make all the difference in getting those gains.

At Studio SWEAT onDemand, you’ll be surrounded by passionate trainers who are committed to helping you get your sweat on safely and effectively. And with a 7-day free trial, you’ll get access to a huge library of classes like TRX, Pilates, HIIT, and Spin. So get on that bike and ride – with correct form, of course!

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