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Monday, November 1, 2010

Sore Knees in Spin??

It seems I am not the only one who gets sore knees after a spin class!! This post was taken off the 12WBT forum and is GREAT advice.. (Apart from the fact that it would take me half an hour to go through all the directions and make sure I had it all right!! LOL!!)

One day I will take it along and check everything out to see if it makes a difference - but for now I think I may just take a rain-check from the spinning!! At least till I can go see a physio or something and find out what my knee problem is. They seem fine after running - which seems to be more associated with knee problems. It is definitely a problem after they have had to bend (like with lunges and cycling)... We will see. Anyway, here is that post:
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As a spin instructor absolutely please, please ask us to check your bike set up before you ride!  We can check saddle height and distance fore and aft from the handlebars, these things can vary from bike to bike, so it is important that you get these adjustments checked by your instructor.  With your bike fit, once it is sorted you will get used to the discomfort and after a short while you wont even notice it!
This is how to check you have your bike set up correctly (it seems like a lot of steps but once you are used to it, it takes 30 secs):
1)  Make sure when you are sitting on your saddle, that you are sitting with your weight even across both butt cheeks (put your hands on your hips to make sure you are sitting even).

2)  Drop one foot (in the pedal cage) to the bottom of the pedal stroke, that foot should run about parallel to the floor and the long leg should be long but not locked - so there should be a slight bend in your knee.  This means you wont have to slip from side to side across the saddle to hit the bottom of your pedal stroke every time (so no slipping means no grating, less discomfort!).  To double check, you should be able to take your foot out of the pedal cage, let the pedal tip upside down and you should be able to scuff your heel over the bottom of the pedal and it will just scrape it.  Lift or lower the saddle height until you have the right height for you.  Note:  If you are using a gel set cover, it should be on the saddle when you check this, as it affects this height positioning.
3)  Next move your feet until they are both running parallel to the floor - so one foot is forward, one foot is back.  Tip from your hips (keeping your chest up, so you come forward with a long spine) and put your hands on top of the handlebars and look down.  You should see that your front knee lines up to the end of the front pedal crank (the pedal crank is the long bar that the pedal cage is attached to).  If your front knee does line up in this way, your front knee will be in a right angle position (like the corner of a square).  If your knee doesn’t come up to the end of the crank, then you need to move your saddle forward until it does.  If your knee is sticking forward past the end of the crank then your saddle is too far forward and you need to move it back away from the handlebars.

4)  Handlebar height.  Ideally the handlebar height should be about the same height as your saddle, unless you have back problems (then you will need to lift the handlebars up high enough to feel that you have taken the pressure out of your back).  When you are first starting, you may want to start with the handlebars a little higher than the saddle, but only a little.  Having the handlebars at the same level as your saddle means that your weight on the saddle is in the right position and you are less likely to bounce (and bouncing and jolting for 45mins is definitely ouchy) because your core muscles are engaged from the angle of your torso relative to your pelvis.  So if you are riding with your handlebars up higher, you need to be really conscious of drawing your bellybutton back towards your backbone, to engage your core and keep you steady.

5)  If your bike has a handlebar fore and aft adjustment, adjust it so when your hands are on top of the handlebars, you have a right angle at your armpit (so where your arm comes out from your torso, that’s what should be like the corner of a square).

Finally, make sure that when you are riding that you have enough resistance - as this will actually keep you connected to your bike more smoothly.  Too little resistance and you will slip through the front of the pedal stroke which makes you bounce.  Too much resistance and you will be swinging your upper body heavily from side to side to try and get the pedals to move around in time - and that seesawing action grates your hooha so badly it’s not funny.  Learning to feel what the ‘right’ resistance is as any one time is what takes the longest.  Even though I know it can feel intimidating, if you sit up the front in the front couple of rows, then the instructor can see you clearly and can give you instructions on how your resistance level is.  Too start with, find your ‘base’ resistance - this is the minimum resistance that you need to ensure you are engaging your muscles (and thus burning calories, controlling and stabilising your joints - all the important things!).  Turn the resistance dial back/off completely and start pedalling.  As you pedal, turn the resistance dial up/on until you just start to feel the pedal push back at you, underneath your feet (right at the ball of your foot, where your toes attach to your foot) and you get a light scraping sensation in the muscle.  This is your base resistance!  Then you just adjust your resistance as the instructor advises as you go through the class…easy !

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