Cycling Injury-Free

By Dylan Bartley, MSPT

Cycling is one of the safest, easiest forms of exercise. Whether you’re taking advantage of the bikes at your gym, or getting out on the open road, it’s a great way to get in shape. Setting up the bike geometry correctly and knowing a few things about posture will help make your ride injury free. For further clarification about some of the adjustments mentioned below, consult one of the physical therapists at Active Marin Physical Therapy.bikegeometry

  • Raise the saddle up higher rather than lower to avoid knee strain. There should only be a 20 degree bend in the knee when the pedal is in the lowest position
  • Keep your cadence up to 60-80 rpm. Keep the resistance low enough that you can maintain this speed.
  • When selecting a good bike for your body, you must start with the proper frame size. This should be done by a Physical Therapist or a good bike mechanic.
  • To prevent low back pain, sit all the way back in the saddle and tilt your pelvis forward so that your spine is not rounded forward.
  • Lift your sternum and lengthen your chest, but tuck your chin so that the back of your neck is not scrunched up.
  • If you have a history of neck or arm pain, you will want to raise the handlebars up or bring them closer to you by purchasing a shorter stem or raising handlebars.
  • Spin bikes and non-stationary bikes usually have an adjustment for moving the saddle forward or backwards. Getting this set up correctly will minimize knee strain.
  • Pedaling out of the saddle during a spin class or when hitting the hills is very challenging and should not be done unless you have proper core strength and body awareness.