Burning calories, building muscle tone, and relieving stress are among the many benefits associated with spin classes. These high-intensity cycling workouts can be tailored to experience levels that range from beginner to advanced. If you’re in a crowded class, your instructor may not have time to keep an eye on your form and technique, which may not be such a good thing for your spine. The trusted Santa Monica spine surgeons at The Spine Institute have a few tips to help you be better prepared when it’s time for your next spin class.
Adjust Your Seat
While you may be able to adjust the seat height on your own personal bike just once, this isn’t the case with the stationary bikes in spin classes. Since many people use these cycles, don’t assume the seat will be the right height to maintain proper spine alignment. Start by standing next to the bike and adjusting the seat so it’s at the height of your hip. Complete your seat adjustments by:
• Getting into a position where your leg is slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest point
• Maintaining an optimal lateral position with your kneecap over the pedal’s center when it’s in a forward position
• Sitting on the bike and getting to the point where the balls of your feet comfortably fit over the pedal spindle
Set the Handlebar Height
Because certain spinal conditions can become more painful when leaning forward too far, you should adjust your bike’s handlebar height before you start class. Conversely, handlebars that are slightly elevated can ease stress on the spine and neck. Also, avoid getting into the habit of using the handlebars to support your weight. Instead, balance your weight in the center of your spin class bike.
Warm Up Before the Official Warm-Up
Most spin classes start with a warm-up, but these tend to be general warm-ups meant to limber up muscles. Get to class about 15-20 minutes early and do your own personal spine-specific stretches before the instructor officially starts pre-cycling warm-ups.
Get Some Input from Your Instructor
Most spin class instructors will gladly take a moment to check your position if you ask for their input. If you know your class is going to be packed, either ask for this assistance before class gets started or find a moment during or after class. You’ll have a better experience with spin class if you get into the habit of maintaining proper form. Anything that’s throwing off your alignment could place too much stress on muscles that support your spine.
The American College of Sports Medicine estimates that nearly 35 million Americans are in on the indoor cycling trend. If you’re among this group, balance things out and include other forms of exercise in your routine. Aim for options that target core muscle groups in different ways at varying levels of intensity. On days when you don’t have class, go for a casual or brisk walk during your lunch break or spend some time doing water aerobics or yoga.
If you’re experiencing chronic spine pain, schedule an appointment with a minimally invasive spine surgeon. Santa Monica patients can rely on Dr. Hyun Bae to diagnose the source of their pain and help them take the first steps toward living a pain-free life. Call The Spine Institute today at 310-828-7757.