Spine Safety At Spin Class
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Spin class has become more popular in the Twin Cities and around the US, and it’s a great way to stay active, especially when the cold Minnesota winters don’t let you get outside to ride your bike. Spin classes come in all forms, from beginner to advanced routines, but the large size of the class means that instructors may not always have the ability to ensure your form is always perfect. If your spin form is misaligned, it can cause significant problems for your spine.
However, if you know how your spine is stressed during spin class, you can also figure out how to best protect it from injury. Below, we share some tips for keeping your spine healthy at spin class.
Unlike your bicycle which is fitted to your height, the stationary bikes at the spin center need to be adjustable in order to accommodate all the different riders throughout the day. Don’t just hop on a seat and assume it’s in the right position, or that the position doesn’t really matter. You want the seat to be at about hip height when standing next to it, and for the pedal to leave your leg slightly bent when the pedal is at its bottom-most point in its rotation. Make sure the seat is also positioned in the correct lateral position. Your kneecap should be directly over the center of the pedal when the pedal is in a forward position. Doing this will help keep your body and spine in alignment.
Secondly, you want to get the handlebars in the right position. Individuals with spine pain typically fare better when the handlebars are positioned a little higher, as this helps to reduce strain on your neck and back. Also, remember that the handlebars are there for balance, not for supporting your weight, as this can put strain on your cervical spine and wrists. Keep your weight centered over the middle of the cycle.
Before jumping into any activity, it is always a good idea to warm up. Try to get to class early enough so you have time to do 5-10 minutes of personal stretching before climbing on the bike. You’ll do some warm ups once class starts, but it’s best to do your own spine stretches before getting on the bike to protect against injury.
Ask Your Instructor
As we noted above, you may not be able to get a lot of individual attention if your class is big, but try to find some time either before or after class to have your instructor examine your form. If you’re in the wrong position, you’ll be stressing your spine throughout the whole workout. Have an expert take a look at your form to ensure your posture isn’t putting your spine in danger.