Proper Cycling Form

Featured Article, Fitness, News and Advice
on April 30, 2012

Even after getting a bike professionally fitted at the shop, or by an instructor or coach, you could experience the fallout from improper riding posture: burning feet, knee pain, back pain. Here are five tips to help keep proper posture even during a long ride:

Tighten your core. Proper posture begins with your core, which is comprised of the abs and lower back muscles that stabilize your body. Focusing on keeping your core tight as you ride will help prevent your lower back from rounding and ease the pressure on it. Exercises like planks can help improve core strength.

Tilt your hips forward. Your lower back should always be flat, to slightly arched as you are riding. In addition to tightening your core, tilting your hips forward so your glutes are pushed out can help prevent rounding of the lower back. This advice does not apply to a recumbent bike, in which case you should consciously keep your back from rounding.

Keep shoulders down and back. Most people have a tendency to raise their shoulders towards their ears as they ride, which can cause upper-back and neck strain. Instead, keep your shoulders positioned down and away from your ears. For someone with an office job who likely already has rounded shoulders from hunching over in a chair all day, this advice is even more important. Loosening up your tight chest muscles with stretching and massage can be very helpful.

Keep a neutral head position. Keeping your head positioned too far forward or back can strain your neck. Instead, keep your head neutral at all times so that it is in line with your upper back.

Relax your arms and back. No need to grip the bike very hard–that not only wastes valuable energy, but also can strain your hands. Relax your arms and elbows, which should make it easier to keep your shoulders in the proper position.