In any type of workout, proper setup and form are absolutely crucial in preventing injuries. The same goes for indoor cycling, especially if you’re clipped in like we do at Cycle House. Because of the fast-paced and “push-yourself-to-the-limit” nature of indoor cycling classes, it’s easy to forget about technique and form when the music is good and you’re deep in the moment. Plus, we want to work our hardest and try to do everything so as a result, we sometimes end up disregarding what our bodies are telling us.
Always remember: never be too embarrassed to listen to your body and do what’s best for you. If you feel like you’re going to pass out during a high intensity interval, the logical move would be to hit the saddle and let your body recuperate before picking up speed again. To help you avoid injuries in class, here are some simple tips you should follow:
Proper bike setup is the most important component to a successful ride. It puts your body in proper riding form from the start, which gives you one less thing to worry about during class. When you arrive to class right on time or a few minutes late, it leaves you basically no time to set up your bike and test out the settings before class starts. At Cycle House, we recommend that you arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled class so you’ll have time to flag down the instructor if you need assistance. Even if you’re a veteran, arriving early will ensure that you won’t have to spend the first song awkwardly readjusting. There are three very important areas to pay attention to when setting up your bike: handlebar height, saddle (or seat) height and distance between seat and handlebars.
Try Not to Tense Up
When the ride gets difficult, we tend to compromise our form for speed or endurance. The shoulders scrunch up around the ears and there’s a lot of tension in the upper body. It’s common for instructors to remind riders to relax their shoulders throughout class. The more you loosen your shoulders, relax the bend in your elbow, and keep your neck nice and long, the less likely you will experience unnecessary strain in the neck and back.
Don’t Slack on Resistance
Resistance is what makes the workout tough. It’s also what makes you stronger. When you ride without enough resistance, not only do you miss out on some of the muscular engagement, it also puts you at risk for injury. If your knees flare out when you’re riding, it’s a sign that your resistance is too light. Other signs include choppiness in the pedal stroke and the butt bouncing too much when in the saddle. Put a little extra weight on the wheel to ensure that you’re actually exerting yourself and building strength while preventing potential injury.
Listen to Your Body
Your body has an intuitive way of telling you when you’ve hit your limit so listen to it. Not ready to jump out of the saddle? Don’t! At the end of the day, it’s your ride. The last thing you want to do is ruin your workout with an injury. You’re not competing with anyone in class so don’t worry if you need to take a pause and catch your breath. Your health is your priority.
Don’t Skip the Stretch
Try to hang around for just a few extra minutes after the ride ends to stretch it out. Think of the post-ride stretch as part of your class. When you’ve been stuck in one position for 30-45 minutes, stretching out your hips, calves, and quads feel pretty freakin’ good. Stretching helps to reset your body to a natural position and posture.