So you're the proud owner of one of the most popular at-home fitness pieces, the indoor exercise bike. While today's models and variations are more tech-riddled than ever before, one of the (many) benefits to indoor bikes is that they're virtually plug and play. Sure, there's some apps to download, minor assembly and quick start steps to be had, but what new toy doesn't come with a few things to tweak?
Getting your indoor bike up and running may simple, but you'll want to take setup a little more personal and get everything adjusted to your body. It's tempting to hop right into training, but you're less likely to stick to your newfound fitness routine if each workout leaves you cramped, aching and in a downright miserable mood. Plus, a well-fitting indoor bike can help you generate more efficient strokes and power output in your workouts, leading to better results (and higher scores on leaderboards if your bike is compatible with these services).
Every indoor bike's adjustments can differ in terms of placement and structure, but below are a few key steps to help you achieve that optimal, cozy riding position.
How to Set Up an Indoor Exercise Bike
There are only three adjustments you need to make to achieve the proper indoor cycling setup:
- Stand to the side of your indoor bike, facing the front display.
- Loosen the seat height adjustment knob or bolt.
- Raise the seat so that it's at the same height as your hip and tighten the seat into place.
Next, you'll want to hop onto the saddle and clip in or put your feet in the cages. Place one of your pedals at its lowest stroke setting — think 6 o'clock on a watch face — and see where your knee is in this stance. There should be a slight bend at the knee if you're sitting at the proper height. Making sure your seat is at the right height can help take some of the strain off your knees and joints when pedaling, which is the whole point to choosing something like a bike over running outdoors or atop a treadmill.
Horizontal Seat Position
- While remaining seated, move one of your pedals forward to a 3 o'clock position.
- See where your knee is overtop your pedal. Your knee and pedal should be stacked directly overtop one another if your horizontal setting is correct.
- Adjust your seat forward or backward accordingly to achieve this desired stack.
Creating that ample distance through these steps can help make it easier to reach your handlebars for proper performance, eliminating the need to strain and keep your arms constantly straight. Additionally, this setup also helps eliminate your knees from compressing too far against the bars and console, which can lead to some discomfort as you train — especially if you errantly knee your drop tubes.
- Lean forward slightly and rest your hands atop the bars.
- Your spine should remain in a neutral, straight position, while your elbows bend just slightly to achieve that comfortable setup.
- Adjust your handlebars up or down accordingly.
Performing all these steps prior to your first ride can go a long way in avoiding any pain or discomfort during training. For example, if your handlebars are too low, you can be pedaling in a hunched position, potentially leading to lower back pain. Too high, and you could be feeling a strain in your shoulders.
A proper-fitting indoor bike can lead to better workouts, more enjoyment and boosted comfort. Follow these simple steps and lock in for performance through every pedal session.
Still looking for that ideal indoor bike to add to your abode? Here are some of our favorites for amplified at-home training: