According to research, indoor cycling can help you enhance your aerobic capacity, improve your lipid profile, help you lose weight and reduce blood pressure. But are you enjoying these benefits of indoor cycling? While riding a stationary bike, many people make some common cycling mistakes. Here, we have six effective tips on how to avoid and fix these mistakes.
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What are the most common indoor cycling mistakes?
According to the American Family Physician, cycling can trigger pain in your neck, back, and around the knee cap, hip joint and ankle. These are a few common side effects of riding a stationary bike, or indeed any bike, incorrectly. To avoid these injuries, you should learn the proper ways to ride a bicycle. Before that though, you should know the common indoor cycling mistakes that you might be repeating.
The most common indoor cycling mistakes are:
- Your bike has not been set up properly.
- You are not working out in the correct position
- You don’t have enough resistance
- You are gripping the handlebars too tightly
- Your posture is wrong
- You are not engaging your core
- You are taking it easy
- You put your weight into your arms
- You are skipping warmup and cooldown stretches
- You do not drink enough water
Tips to avoid and fix indoor cycling mistakes
Some effective tips to avoid and fix indoor cycling mistakes are:
Tip #1. Set up your bike properly before a workout
One of the most common mistakes of indoor cycling is that the stationary bike is not set up to suit you. Often the seat is either too high or too low which can have a negative impact on your workout, resulting in you suffering muscle cramps or joint pain. In some cases, the handlebars are not adjusted properly and can lead to soreness in the back by leaning forward too much. To avoid these mistakes, you should set up your bike properly before performing the workout. Researchers have shown that properly adjusting the saddle height is important for preventing injuries and improving your performance. A study carried out in 2011 also reports that incorrect saddle positions result in a decrease of maximum power output.
Stand next to your bike and adjust the seat at the level of your hip bone. Next, adjust the handlebars to where they feel comfortable. If you are a beginner or experiencing back pain you must take care to do this properly. Handlebars should be adjusted at least at the level of your seat or higher.
Tip #2. Warmup before workouts
A warmup is a gentle and short activity that helps prepare your body for the workout. A warmup raises your body temperature and increases the blood flow to your muscles. This prepares them for high performance. Cold muscles and connective tissues, on the other hand, do not stretch easily during the workout, which can increase the chance of muscle soreness and other injuries. In a systematic review of thirty-two studies, 79% of the subjects showed improved performance after a warmup. This is because a warmup prepares your body to perform better. So add 5 to 10 minutes of warm up exercises before riding a stationary bike if you want to get the maximum benefit from your session.
Tip #3. Maintain your posture
A good posture is important to balance your body and help it work efficiently during the workout. Not only this, but a proper posture during the workout also helps reduce the chances of wear and tear of different body parts. To have a good posture during the indoor cycling, follow the following steps:
- Sit on the widest part of the saddle, and hinge forward at the hip to reach the handlebars.
- Engage your abdominal muscles and keep your spine straight.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and neutral. Avoid putting weight on your arms and leaning too much on the bike.
- Keep your feet flat. Don’t point your toes towards the ground during each rotation.
Tip #4. Focus on engaging your muscles during your stationary bike workout
Indoor cycling is a full-body workout that targets all muscles of your body, especially the lower limb. However, while pedalling, most people focus more on pushing down than pulling up. Pulling strengthens your hamstrings, and that can help stabilise your joints. For efficient riding you should focus on both, pushing down and pulling up. Also, make sure to engage your core muscles to achieve balance and relieve pressure on other body parts.
Tip #5. Take breaks from the workout on your stationary bike
Working out consistently is crucial for losing weight, building endurance, and improving strength but riding every day can make you feel stressed physically and mentally. That’s why it is generally suggested to take breaks from the workout. According to experts at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, when you are working out you are not building strength. You are putting stress on your muscles. The strength building comes when you let your body muscles rest and recover. If you don’t allow time for their recovery, the microscopic tears in your muscles will not heal and can affect your performance. Taking breaks from indoor cycling is also important to boost your motivation.
Tip #6. Perform cooldown stretching exercises after the workout
Just like the warm-up, cool-down stretching exercises are also vital for the health of your muscles. Performing cool-down exercises after the workout can help recover your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. Research also shows performing active cool-downs may partially prevent immune system depression and promote faster recovery of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Stretching out after the workout-out also helps increase flexibility and range of motion of your joints. This also reduces the lactic acid buildup in your muscles, thus preventing cramps and stiffness.
Stationary bikes have become a staple at most gyms, but still, people make some common mistakes while riding them. These mistakes decrease the efficacy of your workout and hold you back from enjoying the benefits. However, some tips such as performing a warm-up and cool-down exercises, setting up your bike properly, maintaining posture, engaging muscles and taking breaks from the workouts can help you avoid and fix indoor cycling mistakes.