If you’ve ever taken a spin class after a heavy meal – or on a completely empty stomach – you probably know that there are some things that you should avoid doing. In this post, we will be looking at the most common mistakes made before, during, and after an indoor cycling class & how they can take away from the efficiency of the workout.
Mistake #1: Poor Posture on the Bike
The first and most common mistake during a spin class is related to posture. Poor posture leads your body to have to work in very inefficient ways, causing you to exert more energy for fewer results. It can also cause back pain, discomfort in the hips, and even knee injuries! Check-in with yourself throughout the class to make sure you’re keeping safe and getting the most out of your ride.
Keep Your Hips back
Keeping your hips back over your bike saddle takes the pressure off the hip joint and allows you to work efficiently from your leg muscles instead.
Core Core Core
In order to support your back, it is important not to sink or curve your spine. Keeping a tight your core ensures that everything remains supported and controlled. If you notice yourself lacking control, bouncing around on the bike, or having trouble catching the beat – do a core check.
Keep your chest open and lift your head so there is always a straight line from neck to back.
Slightly Bend Your Arms
Your arms should be mostly straight except for when doing choreo, but totally locking your elbows makes you very stiff. Keeping a tiny bend in your elbows helps you be gentle with your joints as you move.
Pay Attention to the Positioning of Your Feet
Even though your foot is clipped into the pedal, there are some simple adjustments you can make which will help you to save energy and prevent injuries:
– Your hip, knee, and ankle should line up throughout the pedal stroke
– The key to accessing the large muscles in the back of your leg is dropping your heel as you come over the top of the stroke
– When you comes through the bottom of the stroke, the toe should be pointed down -> this transfers some of the energy from at the top of the stroke into the bigger muscles to the crank
A common mistake you can make here is that your toes point down and you hunch your back. If this happens you might not be engaging your core enough. Thinking about creating perfect circles with your pedals can also help your foot positioning.
Your coach will mention all of these things to you at different moments throughout the class. However, it’s good to always be aware of your own position and keep adjusting on your own as well.
Mistake #2: Incorrectly Setting Up Your Bike
In order to help you maintain good posture throughout the class, it is important that your bike is correctly set up. For example, if your seat is too high it is difficult to keep your hips back. Here are some important points to remember when your setting up your bike in order to avoid this unnecessary strain on your body:
The height of your saddle should be slightly higher than the height of your hip.
- Your handlebar should be no lower than your saddle, to prevent back pain.
- The distance from the saddle to the handlebar should be the same as from your elbow to your fingertips
Your saddle should be at the height of your hip or slightly lower.
- Your handlebar should be slightly higher than your saddle because in Velobeat you work a lot in standing positions
- Since you are working a lot in standing positions, put your saddle slightly to the back
If you aren’t sure if your bike is correctly set up or not, make sure to ask your coach before the class gets going.
Mistake #3: Poor Nutrition Intake Before Class
In addition to what you do during the class, your experience and efficiency on the bike will have a lot to do with how you fuel your body. Nutrition intake before a class can have a big impact on your performance and how you feel. One mistake you can make is eating too much too close to the start of class. You might still be digesting during those sprint intervals and tap-backs, which will leave you feeling very uncomfortable and keep from working as hard as you can. Of course, the opposite is also problematic. Working out with an empty stomach or without loading up on the right mix of nutrients is not optimal either because you’re going to lack the energy to really drain yourself. The ideal pre-ride snack contains a blend of lean protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates. Here are some pre-ride snack tips for your next class.
- Greek yogurt – its protein content will help fuel your muscles so you can really push yourself
- Whole-wheat crackers and almond butter – it’s ideal for keeping your energy up so you can hit the workout hard
- Oatmeal topped with nuts – the slow-releasing carbohydrates and protein-filled nuts will keep you optimally fueled for the class
Next time you sit in one of our cycling classes, remember these points – keep adjusting, checking in, and watch your progress soar!