Fitness / Cycling

The Don’t List: Cycling Workout Don’ts

Skip these cycling mistakes for a better, more effective workout.

We’re back with another edition of The Don’t List. Today we’re taking a closer look at working out on a stationary bike. While this is perhaps one of the easier-to-use machines in your arsenal, there are still a few cycling workout don’ts you should avoid doing to ensure you get the best possible workout every time you hit the bike.

To nail down things you should never do during a cycling workout we spoke with Aaptiv trainer Edouard Hall. Check out his tips below and start getting the most out of your cycling routine.

7 Cycling Workout Don’ts

1. Don’t use any kind of weighted equipment while on the bike (i.e hand weights, body bars, or tubing)

Lifting weight on a bike is ineffective and unsafe. Weight training is most effective when the body and core muscles are stabilized, this is difficult to accomplish on a bike. Lifting weights while doing a cycling workout will also alter your heart rate response which will interfere with energy zone training.

2. Don’t ride with one or no hands

Riding with one or no hands on the spinner may increase the risk of injury. Staying connected to the bike helps to stabilize the upper body and reduces undue stress on the lower back. The only time you should ride with no hands is when you are drinking water.

3. Riding with pointed toes

To maximize efficiency during pedaling, pedal with feet flat on the pedals (the ball of the foot should be directly over the center of the pedal). This position engages the calves which can help improve pedal power and efficiency.

4. Don’t ride without resistance

Riding at high speeds without resistance increases the risk of injury. Riding with resistance develops speed, power, and strength. The only time you should go resistance-free is during warm -up and cool-down.

5. Don’t pedal backwards

There is no physiological advantage to pedaling backwards and the bike was designed for forward motion. In fact, riding backwards can unscrew a pedal if it’s loose. Since the toe cages are designed to engage the foot in a forward motion, pedaling backwards may cause the feet to slip out of the toe cages and off the pedals.

6. Don’t drop the seat in the middle of the class

Every rider has a different level of fitness. Dropping the seat or removing it entirely to prevent you from recovering is a bad idea for a couple reasons: one you can cause or make an injury worse and two it’s a liability issue. To achieve the same goal “brush” the nose of the saddle during a standing flat or climb.

7. Don’t follow the elbow to fingertip method for handlebar set up

When trying to figure out the correct distance between your saddle and handlebars (aka the spot where your body will go), ignore that elbows measurement. It doesn’t work because our arms aren’t always in proportion to our torsos. Using this measurement can encourage unwanted rounding in the back and a tendency to bounce which results in an inefficient ride. Ensure you’re close enough to hold the handlebars comfortably—you shouldn’t have to lunge for them, nor should your body feel squeezed between them.

Get your cycling workout in with Edourd! Try these classes:

Beautiful People

Saddle Gets Electric

Cool Rider

Curious about the rest of the Don’t List? Check out our don’t for the treadmill! If you’re ready to try out Aaptiv, download the app today.

Cycling Fitness


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