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How to Adjust a Spinning Bike

By Beth Rifkin

A spinning bike that is not adjusted to your body can be uncomfortable and may possibly result in injury. For example, seats that are too high or low can lead to knee and foot pain, and improper placement of the handlebars can cause neck, elbow and shoulder discomfort. Take five or 10 minutes before class to correctly align your bike. This can help you to maximize the cardiovascular and muscle-building benefits of indoor cycling, while also giving you a more pleasant ride.

Step 1

Sit on the bike to determine the proper height of your seat. Place the balls of your feet on the pedals. A toe clip may locate your foot on the pedal correctly, or you can clip specialized shoes into a clipless pedal. Cycle the pedals forward until one foot is at the bottom of the stroke; your knee should be bent at an angle of 25 to 35 degrees. Lift the seat accordingly if the bend in your knee is greater than 25 to 35 degrees. Alternatively, lower the seat if your leg is overextended.

Step 2

Align your knees to be neutral over the pedals by moving the saddle position forward or backwards. Rotate the pedals to be even with one another. Move the seat forward if your forward knee is behind the pedal. Likewise, adjust the seat back if the forward knee is in front of the pedal.

Step 3

Place your hands on the handlebars with a relaxed grip. Spinning bikes come three options for hand placement; choose the position that you will use the most during your session. Raise or lower the handlebars to allow for a straight back. If your model permits, adjust the handlebars again, this time forward or backward, to allow for a 25 to 35 percent bend in the elbows. Leaning too far forward or hyperextending the elbows can cause pain in your lower back and shoulders, respectively.

Step 4

Position the balls of your feet to be on the center of the pedals to maximize cycling efficiency. This is the firmest part of your foot and therefore assists with power when pedaling. Proper placement of the foot also helps to protect your ankle and avoid injuries. Clip your shoes in to clipless pedals. Or tighten the strap on the toe clips to keep your foot securely in place.

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