National Bike Month: How to Protect Your Knees during Spin Class

May is National Bike Month, and The League of American Bicyclists encourages everyone to pedal their way to better health with this nationwide program. Whether you decide to take a family bike ride through the neighborhood or a serious 60-mile trek with the pros, there are plenty of options to meet every fitness level. And if outdoor riding isn’t your forte, you can still reap the full benefits of cycling by attending a spin class at your local gym.

Spinning is an excellent form of exercise because it combines cardio with muscle strengthening for a complete lower body workout. The range of movement in each pedal stroke tones the calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes and core. Because spinning is low-impact, it is a great option for those who are prone to knee pain. A properly adjusted spin bike will promote the right posture to strengthen knees without placing any undue stress on them. Follow these guidelines when setting up your spin bike to help prevent knee pain during your workout:

Adjust seat height
The general rule of thumb is that your seat should be at about hip height when standing next to your spin bike. Once you have made this adjustment, climb onto your bike and complete a few slow pedal strokes. Your knees should still have a slight bend at the lowest point of your down-stroke. If your knees fully extend at any time during your pedal stroke, lower your seat a notch or two.

Adjust seat position
A seat that is pushed too far forward or back will create an unnatural posture and place stress on your knees. Make sure your seat is level to the ground and move it to a position where you can comfortably reach the pedals.

Wear proper footwear
It’s possible to spin in regular athletic shoes, but if you’re prone to knee pain, it might be a good idea to invest in some quality cycling shoes. These shoes are equipped with metal clips that attach to the pedals on your spin bike to promote the right posture and positioning.

Maintain good posture
A typical spin workout will take you through a series of challenges and riding positions, but it’s always important to be mindful of your posture. During seated positions, keep your back straight and knees pointed forward. During standing positions, keep knees below your hips and pedal in a steady, controlled manner.

Ease into your workout
One of the greatest perks of spin class is the high energy atmosphere, but don’t let that push you beyond your limits. Overexertion can easily result in injury and discouragement. Give your body adequate time to adjust to your routine, and always work within your personal level of comfort (Source: Spinning).