Spin Bike Fundamentals
- By Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown
- July 28, 2017
How you set up your spin bike makes all the difference in your spin class experience. With five knobs, four ways to adjust, and a dark room to work in, it can be tricky to get it just right. Proper setup means you’ll protect yourself from injury and be comfortable so you can rock out your ride. Cycling instructor, Jess McEwen, shares her top tips for perfecting your spin bike fundamentals.
The most important thing in setting up your bike is to make sure you’re comfortable. Start with the configurations below, but listen to your body and adjust as needed.
- Seat height: Your bike seat should hit right at the top of your hip bone. To adjust the seat height, loosen the black knob below the saddle and pull it out while you raise or lower the seat. Stand next to your bike and set the seat to reach just even with your hip bone.
- Handlebar height: The handlebars should be about even with your seat height. This adjustment is controlled by the knob at the front of the bike, underneath the handlebars. If you’re looking to up the intensity and get a tougher core workout, lower your handlebars further to engage more of your core.
- Handlebar distance: The trick to adjusting the distance between your handlebars and your saddle is to use your forearm to gauge the space. Put the tip of your elbow to the front of your seat and extend your forearm toward the handlebars. Your fingertips should just touch the silver slide bar.
Once you’ve made your adjustments, make sure all of your knobs are tightened as much as you can – you don’t want your handlebars to drop in the middle of a push-up or your seat to slide when you’re in the saddle. You should always have enough resistance on your bike (controlled with the red knob) that your legs are in control, especially as your pace picks up.
Clipping your cycling shoes into the pedals can be one of the most intimidating parts. But don’t fear – it’s easier than you think. Think about how you would clip your boot into a ski or slip on a high heel. Your foot position will be exactly like that when clipping in.
- Rotate your pedals so that the foot you’re trying to clip in is closest to the ground. You should have a very slight bend in your knee at the bottom of your pedal stroke.
- Tilt your toes downward and keep your heel up as you find the front of the clip meet the pedal – the clip is further forward on your foot than you think!
- Slide your foot forward and press down through your heel until you hear the click and feel your shoe lock in.
To unclip, keep your foot parallel to the ground and simply turn your heel away from the bike until your shoe unclips.
Now that you’re clipped in and properly set up, there are a few things to remember during your ride.
- Relax your shoulders and keep your chest and head lifted.
- Make sure to have a slight bend in your elbows while in 1st position. You should have a comfortable reach out to 3rd position and keep a light grip on the handlebars.
- Always ride with a flat back and engage your core throughout your ride.
- Keep your hips back when you’re out of the saddle. You should feel the seat right below you and this keeps pressure off of your knees.
- Slightly bend your knees at the base of your pedal stroke and keep your hips, knees & feet in alignment as you pull your knees toward the midline.
- Pedal with flat feet and make sure you can still wiggle your toes.
- When climbing a hill, find your power by pushing down on the pedals and really dig in with your heels.
Ride where you’re comfortable and never hesitate to ask for help getting set up on your bike. Proper form ensures safety and your best workout, so adjust as needed for your body. Now that you’ve mastered your form, book a class and get ready to own your bike!