So you’re the proud owner of one of the most popular home fitness machines, the indoor exercise bike. While today’s models and variations are more technologically advanced than ever, one of the (many) benefits of indoor bikes is that they’re virtually plug-and-play. Sure, there are some apps to download, minor assembly, and quick-start steps, but what new toy doesn’t come with a few things to tweak?
Getting your indoor bike to work may be easy, but you should take the setup a little more personally and adapt everything to your body. It’s tempting to jump straight into a workout, but you’re less likely to stick to your newfound fitness routine if you’re cramped, achy, and in an downright miserable mood after every workout. Plus, a well-fitting indoor bike can help you hit more efficient strokes and power in your workouts, leading to better results (and higher leaderboard scores if your bike is compatible with these services).
Each indoor bike’s setup can differ in terms of placement and structure, but here are a few key steps to help you achieve that optimal, comfortable riding position.
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How to set up an indoor exercise bike
There are only three adjustments you need to make to achieve the right indoor cycling setup:
- Stand next to your indoor bike and look at the front display.
- Loosen the seat height adjustment knob or screw.
- Raise the seat so that it is at hip height and tighten the seat.
Next you want to hop on the saddle and hook into the cages or put your feet in the cages. Set one of your pedals to the lowest stroke setting — think 6 o’clock on a clock face — and see where your knee is in that pose. The knee should be slightly bent when you are at the correct height. Making sure your seat is at the right height can take some of the strain off your knees and joints when pedaling. That’s the whole point of opting for something like a bike instead of running outdoors or on a treadmill.
Horizontal sitting position
- While remaining seated, move one of your pedals forward to a 3 o’clock position.
- See where your knee is above your pedal. If your horizontal alignment is correct, your knee and pedal should be stacked directly on top of each other.
- Adjust your seat forward or backward accordingly to achieve that desired stack.
Getting that adequate clearance through these steps will make it easier for you to reach your handlebars for proper performance, so you don’t have to strain and keep your arms straight all the time. In addition, this setup also helps prevent your knees from being pushed too far against the bars and console, which can cause discomfort during a workout – especially if you accidentally kneel your downspouts.
- Lean forward slightly and place your hands on the bars.
- Your spine should remain in a neutral, straight position, while your elbows only bend slightly to achieve this comfortable setting.
- Adjust your handlebars up or down accordingly.
If you do all of these steps before your first ride, you can go a long way in preventing pain or discomfort during your workout. For example, if your handlebars are too low, you can pedal in a hunched position, potentially leading to back pain. Too high and you might feel a strain in your shoulders.
A properly fitting indoor bike can lead to a better workout, more fun and increased comfort. Follow these simple steps and hold on to the power with every pedaling session.
Still looking for the ideal indoor bike to add to your home? Here are some of our favorites for at-home reinforced workouts:
BEST INDOOR BIKE OVERALL
Bowflex 22 inch VeloCore bike
BEST UPGRADE INDOOR BIKE
Wahoo Fitness KICKR BIKE simulator
$2,299.99 (34% off)
BEST BUDGET INDOOR BIKE
YOSUDA Indoor Stationary Bike YB001
$233.99 (37% off)
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