Cycling is both an art and a science that requires mastery of the most important techniques. It might look effortless for some, but it is more complicated than riding a bike and pushing the pedals. Among others, one of the most important things to learn is proper cycling posture.
The right posture will improve comfort and efficiency. Even in a long-distance ride, when you position your body properly, you won’t easily get tired. More importantly, it will promote efficient use of your muscles, making sure that every pedal moves your bike without putting unnecessary stress on your body.
If you are interested in learning proper cycling posture, we got you covered! Keep on reading as we talk about the fundamentals of how to maintain the right position in every ride.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Importance of Proper Cycling Position
- 2 Proper Bicycle Riding Position
- 3 Tips and Tricks for the Correct Cycling Position
- 4 Cycling Posture Exercises
The Importance of Proper Cycling Position
Before we talk about the specifics of correct bike posture, let’s first have a quick rundown of the reasons why such is important.
Being more efficient in cycling means that you can maximize the power of every stroke. This way, none of your effort and energy will go to waste. When you have the right posture, it is easier for the body to move the bike.
If you have cycled, then you will know how uncomfortable it can be, especially on long rides and bumpy terrains. Proper posture is crucial so that the external environment will not exert too much pressure on your body.
When you slouch your back and commit other posture blunders when cycling, you can encounter breathing problems. As a result, you won’t be able to move freely and you will also get tired easily.
From your back to your legs, several injuries can be avoided if you maintain the correct road bike posture. When properly positioned, there is minimal strain on the different parts of your body, minimizing the possibility of an injury.
Proper Bicycle Riding Position
Now that we have established how important it is to maintain proper cycling form, this section will go into the specifics of how you can do it like a pro. We’ll list down the proper position of the different parts of your body.
Lift your head and keep it straight while cycling. Your eyes should be up, looking straight on the road to the direction where you are heading. You should also keep your chin tucked, which will make it easier to keep your spine in a neutral position. Like the rest of your body, the head should be as relaxed as possible. Otherwise, it can strain your neck.
The correct bike position requires having your shoulders as relaxed as possible. If it is too stiff, it will exert unnecessary pressure on your back, and it won’t take long before you will be complaining of discomfort. Being in a relaxed position also means that the shoulders should be away from your ears. When your shoulders are raised too high, you are more prone to suffering from neck and back pain. It can also make it more difficult to turn your head when you need to look behind.
A neutral spine is another must-have in keeping a proper bike riding position. This means that your back should be as straight as possible throughout the ride. This will prevent you from tilting and rocking. It also maintains a well-balanced position. One of the most common mistakes a lot of beginners commit is to curve their back when riding, forming a hill. To keep your spine straight, use your core muscles for providing the support that your body needs.
Keep your pelvis relaxed and stable as you are biking. Prevent it from rocking side to side. Otherwise, this will negatively impact your balance. The goal is to distribute your weight evenly on both sides to make you more efficient and comfortable. If you are rocking inevitably, you might need to adjust the height of the saddle to be more stable.
Keep your elbows relax and bent. This will let you move your upper body freely instead of restricting your movements. It is also great in absorbing impacts, especially when you are on bumpy surfaces. Plus, it makes your hands lighter. It removes strain from the other parts of your body.
Knees and Feet
Your knees and feet must be aligned. The ball of your feet must be in the same direction as the pedal spindle. When you pedal, the knee should be aligned to your foot. It should be pointing straight ahead instead of bending. When you bend your knees, there is a higher likelihood that you will be suffering from knee pain.
Tips and Tricks for the Correct Cycling Position
Aside from the things mentioned above, here are some things that can help you in maintaining proper bike riding form.
Get the Right Bike Fit
Maintaining correct bicycle posture is more than just about positioning your body. Your bike must be involved as well, so make sure that it fits properly. A common mistake many novices make is assuming that all bikes are the same. Truth is, every person needs a different bike. You should have your bike fitted by a professional. Below are some of the most important things to ensure the optimal fit of the bike.
It is the measurement from the top tube to the ground. Sit on the bike and position your feet flat on the ground. There should be at least an inch of clearance under the groin. If the bike has a sloping top tube, there will be more space.
Setting the correct height of the saddle has a huge impact on maintaining the optimal cycling position. The best bikes will have an adjustable saddle so that you can customize the height depending on what you are most comfortable with. When the saddle is too high, your back suffers from unnecessary strain. When it is too low, on the other hand, your legs and knees cannot move properly.
The right height of the handlebar will also be highly influential in your proper position when riding. It should not be too close or too far from your body. Otherwise, you will be stretching your arms too far or limiting their movements.
Wear the Right Attire
When you have the right biking wear, it is a lot easier to maintain the right bike riding posture. This will allow you to move properly and comfortably. For instance, when your clothes are too tight, there will be more limitations in your movements. On the contrary, when you have an outfit that fits well, it is easier to ensure the right position.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Your muscles play a key role in keeping the right posture when cycling. Your arms, legs, and back are some of the muscles you will be using, so make sure to work on strengthening them. The stronger the muscles are, the easier it will be to maintain proper posture. Not to mention, you won’t easily suffer from strain.
Cycling Posture Exercises
Now that you know what a good cycling posture is, it’s time to practice! To make it easier for your body to be accustomed to the recommended biking posture, below are some of the best exercises.
This is a great exercise for correcting muscle imbalances. Not to mention, it will strengthen your legs, which will add more power to your pedal strokes. Stand straight with your feet parallel and arms resting on the sides. With squared hips, bend your knees slightly, hinge, and position your torso parallel to the ground. Extend your right leg to your back, assume the starting position, and repeat.
Lie on the floor with your back straight. Bend your knees at 90 degrees while keeping your feet straight. Put your arms on your side at a 45-degree angle. Drop both of your knees to the right while raising your left hip and twisting your back. Move your head to the left until your ear is touching the ground. Hold the position up to two seconds and repeat on the other side.
This might seem like a simple stretching exercise, but it is highly effective in making it easier to maintain proper bike posture. Lie on the ground facing up with a band on your left foot. Raise your left leg at the highest possible position and grab it with your left hand. Hold for about two seconds, return to the starting position, and do it again on the other leg.
As a newbie in biking, you have a lot of things to learn. One of the most important is how to maintain proper cycling posture. From your back to your hands, among other parts of the body, make sure that you know the right position when you are cycling. It is beneficial in more ways than one, such as in improving efficiency, maximizing comfort, and preventing injuries. Take note as well of some exercises that you can do to make it easier to maintain the right posture.