A properly positioned bike can be the difference between a safe and fun spin class, or a 60-minute pain in the butt. Check out these expert tips from Allison McCormick, spin and group exercise instructor in Cranston, Rhode Island, to correctly position your bike, so next class, you can actually enjoy the ride.

1. Seat Position

• First, stand next to the saddle (the seat) and adjust the height so the seat lines up with your hipbone.
• To make sure it is high enough, sit on the seat with your feet on the pedals; your extended leg should be as straight as it can be without locking at the bottom of a pedal stroke. If your knee is bent, raise the seat; if it is locked, lower it one notch.
• With your feet on the pedals, put one foot forward and one back. You should be able to draw a straight line from your front knee to the center of your foot. If not, adjust the seat forward or backward.

2. Adjust the handlebars

• Hinge at the hips and reach forward to grab the handlebars. Adjust handlebar height up or down until your arms are in a comfortable position and slightly bent.
• If you are new to spinning, pregnant, or have lower back problems, raise the handlebars. Advanced riders may wish to set them in a lower position.

3. Pedals

If wearing sneakers
• Align the ball of your foot over the center of the pedal.
• Make sure your feet are strapped tightly into the foot cages.
If wearing cycling shoes
• Align the clips of the shoes with the clips on the pedal and attach.
• Make sure the ball of the foot is ahead of the pedal axel in order to create stability and reduce any strain on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.

Build the Best Spin Playlist

“Creating the right playlist gives the rider the opportunity to get into her zone by connecting to the song,” says McCormick. Follow her tips for picking the best songs for pedaling, whether you’re teaching a class or spinning solo.

1. Go for upbeat, catchy songs from a variety of time periods and genres.
2. Make sure to include at least one song for a heavy hill (slower tempo), one song for an interval (changing tempo), and one song for a sprint (fast tempo).
3. Order is important. Always follow up a heavy uphill song with either a sprint or interval song. This will shock your muscles with quick, light resistance after the heavier resistance.

A few of Allison’s Faves:

  • Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Roar – Katy Perry
  • Take it Easy – The Eagles
  • Tchu Tchu Tchu – Pitbull ft Enrique Iglesias
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