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Safety on the Bike

My name is Angela. I have been a certified Spinning instructor through Mad Dogg Athletics since 2007 and Spin Power certified since 2014. I also hold indoor cycling certifications through RealRyder and Schwinn. I also hold my Group Fitness Instructor certification through ACE Fitness.

I am here today to talk about safety on the bike.

  • Bike Setup

    • Set the saddle on the saddle bar in a neutral position so there is equal distance front & bike.

    • The rider should stand directly next to the saddle, lift the inside leg to 90 degrees and line up the back of the saddle with the top of the thigh. Alternatively, the rider can place his or her finger on the greater trochanter (ball and socket hip joint) and match that level.

    • Heel Check: The rider should sit on the widest part of the saddle, hands comfortably on the handlebars, with a neutral spine. The rider places the crank arms straight up and down (12 & 6 o’clock) and place a heel on the pedal spindle of the bottom (6 o’clock), keeping the foot parallel to the floor. The knee should be fully extended and the hips should be level. If not, adjust the saddle up or down as needed.

    • Now, the rider places the balls of his or her feet over the center of the pedalsThis is when the rider should either clip in or put their shoes in the cages. There should be a 25 to 35 degree bend in the let in the 6 o’clock position

    • Pedal slowly to check that the hips do not rock side to side in the saddle and that the knees don’t lock out, which may mean that the saddle is too high. It can lead to IT band issues, low back pain, and hamstring strain.

    • If the saddle is too low, inadequate leg extension can cause undue strain on the knees and overuse of the quadriceps and hip flexor muscles, leading to weak hamstrings.

  • Handlebar Height

    • Handlebar adjustment should be for comfort, enabling the upper to remain in a relaxed position

  • Hand Positions

    • Hand Position 1

      • This is for seated flats when the intensity is easy to moderate

      • Rest hands in the center of the handlebars with weight on the outer edges of the hands to maintain circulation to wrists and palms

      • Keep elbows slightly bent, shoulders relaxed, and eyes forward

    • Hand Position 2

      • This is used for most of the ride, for seated flats, standing flats, seated climbs, jumps, running on a hill, jumps on a hill, sprints on a flat, and sprints on a hill

      • Place palms over the handlebars with thumbs resting on the top or inside curve

      • Point fingers down, point knuckles forward keep wrists neutral

      • Maintain a soft bend in the elbows, keeping shoulders relaxed and eyes forward

    • Hand Position 2.5

      • This is an alternative to HP2. Those who need a longer reach may slide the hands to the outside of the handlebars

      • Keep shoulders relaxed, elbows soft, wrists in neutral alignment, shoulders back, and eyes forward

      • Lightly grip fingers with the thumbs toward the inside of the bars, maintaining neutral wrists.

    • Hand Position 3

      • This is used only when standing with heavy resistance, when the intensity is hard to very hard. It is used for standing climbs and during the standing portions of jumps on a hill, sprints on a flat, and sprints on a hill

      • Increase resistance to heavy

      • Stand up and grasp the end of the bullhorns with the palms inward and knuckles out

      • Wrap fingers lightly around the bars with thumbs over the ends

      • Adjust resistance as needed to maintain a smooth pedal stroke and keep a relaxed grip on the handlebars

  • Contraindications

    • Excessive movements

      • Movements such as crunches, push ups, weight lifting, and exaggerated side-to-side leaning on the bike are not part of any indoor cycling curriculum. Any legitimate indoor cycling program is based on sports specific cycling training and relies on proper form and training principles to achieve the best results. Indoor cycling bikes are not designed to hold extra equipment such as dumbbells, bands, or weighted bars. To improve upper body strength, train off the bike in a separate strength building session

    • Squats, hovers, and other isolated movements

      • Isolating the lower body while pedaling can place undue strain on the knees and spine because the back and knees are forced into hyperflexion often under too much or too little resistance for those extreme angles. This technique is very difficult for beginners to achieve because it demands greater muscle control and balance. Instead, try a seated climb in HP 2.

    • Pedal Stroke

      • Do not pedal backwards or with one foot out of the toe cage or cleat. Pedaling backwards may cause the rider’s foot to come out of the cage or the cleat to disengage from the pedal. There is no benefit to pedaling backwards, it does not burn more calories than pedaling forwards, nor does it yield any gains.

    • Jumping too quickly

      • Jumps are effective and challenging, but form and technique can be compromised when they are performed too quickly. The purpose of jumps is to create smooth transitions in and out of the saddle. Very few riders can stay in control jumps faster than 2 to 3 seconds. Personally, I used 16 count and 8 count jumps the majority of the time; however, it depends on the music

    • Cadence

      • Riding at a high cadence without resistance is INEFFECTIVE. Most riders should pedal at 110 or less; advanced cyclists may pedal up to 120. If a rider begins to bounce in the saddle, he or she should add resistance. Speeds lower than 60 RPM are not recommended because the resistance may be too high, minimizing pedal stroke efficiency and potentially placing undue stress on the knees

    • Removing the saddle

      • Removing the saddle to force riders to stand for the entire class is contraindicated because riders should always have the option to sit and recover. Riding out of the saddle for the entire class can create muscle imbalances (eg, Jilian Michaels)

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