One of the best ways to get a nice cardio workout and burn calories on a busy schedule is through indoor cycling. However, just like exercising on a treadmill, there’s a right and wrong way of doing things. Doing the wrong moves on your exercise bike will not only negate the benefits of indoor cycling, but also cause injury.
Here are 8 common mistakes you’re probably making on your exercise bike, and some quick fixes:
1. Your bike isn’t properly adjusted.
Having an improperly adjusted bike can throw off your whole ride. Ensure your saddle height is even with your hips when you’re standing on the floor. If the saddle is too high, your knees will be forced to overextend, potentially injuring the joints as well as your hips and back. If it’s too low, you risk straining your lower back and knees.
2. Your riding position is all wrong.
The general rule of thumb is to maintain a relaxed posture while riding. Keep your tush on the seat, bend your knees slightly, and bring your hands to rest gently on the handlebars ensuring that your neck, arms, and shoulders remain relaxed to avoid soreness and muscle fatigue.
3. Not moving your hips.
You might be tempted to engage your quads by keeping your hips still while riding, but this will only hurt your hamstrings and put your knees and joints under intense pressure. Instead, engage your core, keep your back straight, minimize upper body movement, and move those hips. However, if your hips are moving too much, your seat may not be adjusted properly. Consider double checking your seat prior to each ride.
4. Using super-high resistance.
There’s a misconception that riding with higher resistance will make your thighs bulkier. However, tension that makes it difficult for you to turn the pedals can damage the bike and hurt your knees, so adjust it.
5. Cycling too fast.
Indoor cycling isn’t a race, so there’s no need to go faster than 120 RPM (revolutions per minute) during your ride. Pedaling at a steady pace of 80-120 RPM will allow you to work up a good sweat minus the risk of flying off your seat.
6. Wearing the wrong gear.
Jeans and flip-flops are not a good idea on an exercise bike. You’ll need a light, breathable top or t-shirt to keep you cool and non-baggy clothing (tights or shorts) that allow you to pedal freely. Ladies, a good sports bra is your friend. You’ll also want to keep a towel and bottle of water handy.
7. Trying to combine workouts.
Some cycling studios might encourage you to use weights or do pushups on an exercise bike, but this is unsafe. If you want to tone your arms or lift weights, hop off the bike and do them on the floor. Trying to do them on the exercise bike will destabilize your core, leading to strains and other injuries.
8. Not stretching after riding.
Your muscles remain shortened to maintain your form during a riding session, so it’s imperative to stretch them out afterward. This will help you avoid tight and painful lower back and hamstring muscles or stiff knees.
Other than that, happy cycling! Or do you prefer treadmill training? See here for mistakes to avoid while exercising on your treadmill!