Most of us get enthusiastic while doing something new and end up injuring or hurting ourselves because of going overboard with it. It is easy to get carried away in a group setting especially when the trainer is shouting on the podium “let’s spin those legs, last 30 seconds left”! There is a very narrow line between pushing yourself to get the maximum out of the session and pushing yourself too much that you injure yourself. It is extremely important to push yourself beyond the comfort zone yet not bonk or get injured by doing so.
To get a fair idea of what you feel and where you stand during a spin session so that you get to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and still not overdo it, it is essential to be mindful of what you do and how you feel during, before and after the session. Having fun during the session is important but even more important is to be watchful of how you feel while working out.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while spinning indoors so that you can have a fun session, and get the maximum out of it without getting injured.
Set up your bike properly
It is essential to go early and set up your bike properly. You need to be comfortable during your session. To get the maximum out of the session you need to be pain free and the first step is to get the bike set up properly in accordance with your body and build. It is always better to turn up to class 5 minutes early and keep the bike ready for the session.
Know when to lower the resistance
Most of us get carried away and end up increasing the resistance to such an extent that we cannot pedal anymore. We end up spinning through uncomfortable pain. But sometimes, it is alright to lower the resistance and not go overboard.
Know when to increase the resistance
Sometimes we end up spinning too fast when the resistance is low, and we end up losing control of our legs while doing that. That would give way to knee and back pain. In order to prevent this, it is better to increase the resistance appropriately so that we spin at a comfortable and controllable speed.
During an intense session, it is important to fuel properly. You may not feel exhausted or fatigued to keep fuelling, but sipping water and essential salts is a good idea to prevent the muscles from getting tired and thereby not exposing them to wear and tear.
If you feel uneasy, then it is okay to stop or slow down
If you feel uneasy and not up to it, it is okay to slow down or go easy on the resistance. You cannot push every single day in the same way. There are days when we feel invincible and there are days when we don’t really feel like going all out, when there is some pain or so. Those days it is better off to just chill out and relax during the session.
Keep your feet parallel to the ground
A common mistake with people who are new to spinning is that they forget to keep the feet straight. It is important to check the alignment of the feet and make sure that it is parallel to the ground and not in any other weird position in order to prevent injuries and discomfort.
Engage your core and straighten up your spine
Any workout requires the core to be activated for it to be effective and pain free. It is the same when it comes to spinning indoors. We often complain about back pain while riding and this can be prevented if the core is engaged and the spine straightened. Looking at the mirror to correct this posture is the best way to become mindful of a straight back.
Relax your shoulders
Another injury that people are prone to while spinning indoors is a shoulder injury. This is because of the way the handle bar is being held. It is important to relax the shoulders and not put pressure on the upper body.
Stretch and rest adequately
Last but not the least, give yourself time to stretch and rest. After a spin session it is important to stretch enough. It is also essential to take a day off and give your body the time to recover.
So relax a bit when you’re not feeling up to it so that you can push yourself during the other session.
Author – Keerthana Swaminathan
A Sports Psychologist from the Loughborough University UK and a passionate long distance runner and cyclist.