Tips and Tricks for Proper Form on a Stationary Bike

There are certain steps to follow in order to avoid bad form when exercising on a stationary bike; steps that will improve our performance and confidence during this workout. 
Tips and Tricks for Proper Form on a Stationary Bike

Last update: 14 September, 2018

The stationary bike is great for doing cardio, it’s a very effective and beneficial exercise. However, we must ride the stationary bike using proper form; otherwise we risk injuring ourselves. Today we tell you how to achieve proper form on your stationary bike.

Usually, a stationary bike workout routine takes some time to master. For those who aren’t used to it, it can cause some discomfort. Consequently, they start to change the position of their arms, back, glutes and even legs. This is something that we should not do.

There are also those who are familiar with the bike, but lack good form, due to a bad bike set-up. It’s essential that both the saddle, and the handlebar is at the proper height. If not, you may experience poor posture, which should always be avoided.

How to achieve proper form on your stationary bike

1. Start by setting the height of the saddle

Often, we see people pedaling in an almost non-human position, in which the leg is not making a complete extension. This is an awful mistake.

differences between spinning and indoor cycling

You must set the saddle at a height where your leg is almost completely extended whenever the pedal reaches its lowest point. Whenever the pedal is at its highest point, your leg should be at the height of the hip or a just below. 

A good technique to estimate the correct height of the saddle, is to place yourself beside the bike. Then align the saddle to your hip and you’re all set up!

Another aspect to consider when setting the saddle height, is its proximity to the handlebar. Some bikes allow you to move this, and some don’t.

We advise you to put the pedal forward, as far possible – in a 9 o’clock position – the tips of your toes shouldn’t go over the line of your hips. Another trick: place your elbow in front of the saddle and extend your forearms to the handlebar. Your forearms should form a straight line to where your extended fingers end.

2. The height of the handlebar

In this case we have two alternatives. They’re different according to the goal that you want to achieve with a stationary bike workout. If you have physical limitations, such as injuries or pain, this can also affect the way you set up the handlebar.

The important point to remember is to always keep your back straight. If the cyclist has an arched back during exercise, he or she, can exert harmful pressure on their lower back.

For those suffering from lower back problems, the best advice is, to set the  handlebar  height to the same height of the saddle. This is also recommended for low-intensity bike workouts or for beginners. This will ensure a straight back. 

If you’re looking to gain speed and power without sacrificing comfort, you may put the handlebar at a medium height. Thus, the back will stay straight, and in a slightly stretched position. This position is very common in spinning classes or more-advanced routines. Either way, it’s vital to make sure that your back isn’t arched.

proper form on stationary bike
Exerting force with your arms is one of the most common mistakes.

3. Arms and shoulders

These two parts of the body are the last areas that you should take care of, in order to achieve proper form on your stationary bike. What you must always remember is to maintain an elongated posture. 

Considering this, it’s necessary that your arms are semi-extended and that your shoulders are low. This means that both shoulders should be relaxed and feel comfortable. Don’t put pressure on your arms, or make any effort either; the purpose of your arms is only to offer grip and stability while you’re pedaling.

Other common mistakes to avoid

Besides maintaining a good posture on your stationary bike, you should refrain from the following:

  • Pedaling with the tips of your toes; the sole of your foot should be parallel to the ground at the moment of extension.
  • Having your knees too wide apart. Your knees shouldn’t be pointing outward. To avoid this, check that the saddle isn’t too low.
  • Bouncing on the saddle. This may be because of a lack of strength, or resistance in your core.
  • Have your elbows pointing outward. This incorrect position puts pressure on your forearms and hurts your wrists.

Benefits of the stationary bike

This is a very beneficial workout because it improves your aerobic resistance and it practically doesn’t have any risk of injury. This is of course if we maintain a proper form while riding the bike.

Those who regularly practice this activity will experience the following benefits: 

  • Improvement in cardiovascular fitness.
  • Weight loss and fat loss.
  • Great muscle work without hurting the joints: it doesn’t have too much impact, nor does it require abrupt movements.
  • Strengthening of the immune system: it helps to prevent chronic diseases.
  • Reduced stress and less accumulated tension.

With all of these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to achieve proper form on a stationary bike, without any difficulty. Remember, proper form is essential to reaping all of the benefits from this workout. Place yourself in front of a mirror, observe the mistakes you’re making and correct them!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.