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Staying Injury Free at Spin Class

Good form versus bad form on the bike

When I am in spin class, I often notice neighbors who are using bad form and I want to correct them, but I usually don't.  So to clear my conscience I am writing this article to point out the greatest offences that could cause your body harm, but can easily be corrected.  

If you spin or cycle regularly, you are bound to suffer from some aches and pains.  Usually, it is mostly delayed onset muscle soreness from a great workout.  If the pain lingers for more then a couple of days, you may have pain caused from poor form while on the bike.  


The following are what I have observed to be the biggest offenses:


1. The butt wiggler.  If you set your seat too high, you will compensate for this by shifting your butt side to side on the seat as your extending leg stays on the peddle.  To some, this might feel like you are working harder by constantly wiggling your butt side to side, but what you are actually doing is putting undo strain on your low back.  If you want your butt to work harder, turn up that resistance instead.  As your pelvis moves up and down to keep your foot stays on the peddle, your back is continually twisting side to side, as you go faster, this twisting goes faster, and could lead to low back pain. 


2.  The rounded low back. You can see this in the first picture above.  Instead of bending forward at the hips to reach for the handle bars, this man is bending from his low back.  The second and third picture depict better form.  The riders in these pictures are reaching forward by bending from their hips.  Their backs are flat and very little stress is being put on them.  If your seat and handle bars are too close, this will cause you to round your back to create space.  Make sure to adjust the distance between your seat and your handle bars so that you can comfortably rest on the handlebars while maintaining a flat back.    


3.  Hiked shoulders.  The man in the first picture is hiking his shoulders.  Your shoulders should always be relaxed.  Try to put your shoulder blades in a position where they are down and back, flat on your rib cage.  


4.  Rounded upper back.  If you tend to round your upper back try to stick your chest out.  Just enough to maintain a flat back.  This combined with #3 will take considerable stress off of your neck.  


5.  Head position.  Since you are not on the road, and you don't have to look out for potholes, try to keep your neck in a straight line with the rest of your spine.  Pictures 2 and 3 depict this well.  Try not to lift your head too high, and don't let it drop too low.  


6.  The spin push up.  I don't know if they do this in your classes or not, but they do it in mine, and the form I see when other people do this incorrectly, hurts me, so please stop.  A push up comes from your arms.  Do not lead with your head.  I repeat do not lead with your head.  

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