How to Maintain Proper Form on a Spin Bike

Spin bikes have been around since the 80s, and from the look of things, they are here to stay. How did they come about? We can trace spinning to a South African man named Jonathan “Jonny G” Goldberg, who was an endurance cyclist.

At the time, he was preparing for a competitive cycling event when he had a life-threatening accident. The accident confined him to only indoor training. Because he had to find a way to remain fit, this led him to invent the spin bike to complement his outdoor training. Here is a detailed guide of what is a spin bike.

Is the Spin Bike For Everyone?

You’ll be mistaken to conclude that spin bike is only for those who are bored or have suffered one form of physical injury or the other. These stationary exercise machines, with pedals attached to a single weighted flywheel, are designed to give you the feel of riding a bike.

This will help you shed off extra pounds of fat, strengthen your hamstrings, quads, hip, and back muscles. You can also improve your immune system and support a healthy blood pressure level.

Spin Bike versus Outdoor Biking

indoor cycling vs outdoor cycling

Before we jump into how to maintain proper form on a spin bike, we need to highlight some key things you will find relevant.

Magnetic Spinning bikes, when compared to outdoor biking, have tons of advantages. Firstly, they allow you the laxity to adjust the intensity to your desired level.

Secondly, you don’t have to deal with traffic, or the chances of having a roadside accident. When it comes to convenience, spinning bikes take the front seat.

However, there are downsides to using spinning bikes, one of which is you get bored easily. And, overall muscular fitness is low when compared to outdoor cycling or biking.

That being said, the need to maintain proper form on a spin bike cannot be overemphasized. Many times when you walk into a gym or any health club, you can see riders make the same mistakes over and over again.

This is not only a bad habit, but it also exposes you to a high risk of injuries. In this guide, we will explain not only how to maintain a proper form on a spin bike, but also how to avoid some mistakes.

Tips for Proper Form on a Spin Bike

We are all out for effective and efficient indoor cycling. That’s why we have painstakingly taken out time to write this informative guide.

Focus on Your Core Muscles

The first thing you need to know to get the most out of your workout is to engage all your muscles, especially the core ones. What are your core muscles?

Core muscles include your shoulders, back, abdominal, and pelvic muscles. Because your legs tend to get tired real quick, you should supplement your spinning with your upper body.

This will not only make your spin more efficient, but it will also improve your stamina. This begs the question, how do you engage your core? It’s quite simple; just pay attention as we walk you through.

Starting from your hands, relax your arms and hands on the handlebar with your chin looking ahead. Ensure you’re sitting upright and not just hunched over the bike. Your shoulders should be relaxed, your foot flat, and your abs tightened.

When you control your abdominal muscles well, you keep the weight off your hand. Try using one hand for balance on your bike to improve your core strength.

Improving your core strength improves your stability on the bike, boosts your circling efforts, and reduces the risk of accidental injuries such as spine and muscle injuries.

And, if you’re prone to back injuries like many cyclists, one effective way of preventing this is by complementing your cycling with weight lifting or yoga.

Resistance Is Key

With most spin bikes, the resistance knob is in the central position, that is, between the two handlebars. You need to know how it works and how to use it. Luckily for you, it’s quite easy.

Twisting the knob to the right means increasing your bike resistance, while to the left is decreasing your resistance. The resistance knob puts the control of your spin bike in your hands.

The higher the resistance, the higher the amount of effort your body needs to put in to overcome it. This builds your muscles up. In contrast, a low resistance will do little to your legs and body.

To get the best of your cycling and for proper form on your spin bike, alternate between high resistance in a standing position and low resistance in a seated position.

Don’t set the resistance so high that you can’t move the pedals; you’ll only be straining your muscles and joints.

Equally, feel the resistance level first before setting the resistance to a new level if your resistance knob is not labeled. Ensure you set the resistance to a level where your core is engaged.

Do Tap Backs

In tap backs, you engage your glutes by standing or hovering over the seat with your hips shot backward and your hands towards the top of the handlebars.

You can also engage your abdominal muscles by moving your chest downwards and lifting your hips back. The movement should be gradual and not in haste lest it appears jerky. This is one common mistake a lot of people make.

Another mistake people make again is that they lean too forward. You can avoid this by being intentional with your every stroke. To put it succinctly, tap back is a cycling regimen that helps you maintain proper form while you engage your butt muscles.

Take Control

Taking control involves being in some key positions. They are about three in number.

First position: Your hips should be spread evenly on the spin bike seat while your palms are placed in the center of your handlebars. Then, using your feet, apply pressure gradually on the pedal without slamming it.

Second position: This requires standing from the saddle so that your hips are squared. This way, you end up doing jumps with your hands away from the central position a bit so that your chest is up. In this position, you’ll not only be engaging your butt muscles, but also your hamstrings.

Third position: In this position, your hands are beyond the curve of the handlebars and now at the top. Your glutes are down and not against friction while your back is flattened. When you do one stroke, you raise your butt from the saddle a little as much as an inch. Don’t go higher than that to engage your hamstrings and glutes.

If Your Arms Aren’t Bent, You’re Wrong.

When you lean forward during cycling, your elbows should have a slight bend, and your hands and arms should grip the handlebars.

You know it’s time to adjust the handlebars when it is awkward or difficult to reach it or grab it. You need to readjust the handlebars until you get it right.

If you don’t get it right, you will not maintain proper form on the bike, and even if you eventually succeed, it won’t last long.

Look Ahead

Your head should be held up, aligned with your neck, and your chest lifted and opened so your airway is not restricted in any way. Keeping your head up can also serve as a motivation to do better and be better.

There are cycling apps around that will assist you in keeping your head up. And, if you are already on a TV workout program, incorporating some of these apps is a plus to you.

Adjust The Seat

Is the seat too high or too low? Though spin biking is a low-impact sport, it could become quite impactful if the seat is not adjusted properly. For example, when the seat is in the wrong position, you put more pressure or stress on your bones and joints.

How do you fix this? Before you hop on your bike, do a proper spin bike setup by stand beside it and raise your leg closest to it. Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees and your thigh pointing in the same direction as the floor.

Notice your knee joint; what point is it? This gives you a clue on where your seat is supposed to be. If it’s not, you must adjust it accordingly. Is this clear enough?

Adjust the Handlebars

Proper handlebars position is key to maintaining a proper form on the spin bike. Are they too high or too low? Too close to your trunk or far away from it?

If they’re too high or too low, you’ll be fatigued easily. If they are too far from you, you may end up with shoulder, arm, and back pains.

Always try to square your shoulders, sitting more upright.

Don’t put too much weight on the handlebars, as this could affect your upper limb muscles. Always try to maintain a light grip on the handlebars at all times.

In Conclusion

To get the maximum benefits out of your spin bike, one of the first things you should know is how to maintain a proper form on it. When you are armed with these pieces of information, all other things concerning spinning will either add up or fall into place with time.

Robbie Ferri
Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri from “Riding with Robbie” has been cycling for almost ten years. In that time, he has broken World Records, Bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. Robbie picked up a bike and started cycling when he was about 25 years old and said it was the best thing he ever did. The experiences and the fun he’s had have given him a huge passion for helping inspire others to ride further, farther, and get fitter.