Spin biking is a great cardiovascular exercise and it is great for leg strength and tone. Some people would say that spinning is a similar workout to running in terms of calories burnt and feeling that same intensity. It is kinder on your joints and pelvic floor than running as spinning is low impact.
In my job I look after ladies who are pregnant or recovering from having a baby. In this article I will discuss using the spin bike in the postnatal period or for women who wish to protect their pelvic floor during exercise.
Getting on a bike or a spin bike is a progression in our postnatal programme. Once postural imbalances have been addressed and we know you are able to connect with your core muscles, and you have regained some leg strength and balance then you are in a good place to start riding a bike or doing spin.
If we think about setting the bike up. Make sure when you are on the bike that the seat is adjusted to a level where you knees are soft and slightly bent.
You can adjust the handlebars so that your elbows are soft and feel comfortable. Similarly you can adjust the handlebar height so you are not leaning forward too much, this is kinder on your back and the more upright and in line you are the easier it is to connect with your core muscles. It is all about comfort, if you are going to be on that spin bike for a while.
Once you are on the bike position yourself so you are sitting in the middle of the seat. Try to gently just tuck your tailbone under a little way when you have reached the handlebars, for optimal core connecting. Your upper shoulders should be relaxed and your shoulder blades activated by slightly drawing them together.
Now we are ready to start moving. Start pedaling and feel if you notice any resistance as you pedal. It is kinder on your pelvic floor if you do have some resistance as you pedal. Excessive speed and load are tough on your pelvic floor. Try and set your perceived rate of exertion in terms of resistance at a 4 out of 10 to start. Great.
With your pedaling think about the pulling up stroke. If you can use your glutes and back of your thigh to lift your leg . Focusing more on the pull up and less on the push down will make it less likely that you are pushing down so heavily through your pelvic floor.
You can pedal away quite happily now. At 5 min intervals just recheck your initial set up to check optimal positioning. As you warm up you can then increase the resistance from a 4 out of 10 to a 5 or 6 out of 10. If you are increasing the resistance keep you cadence and speed at the same; in other words don’t change everything at once.
If you are like me and enjoy getting out of the saddle I have a tip there. We know that there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure when we move from sitting to standing. To ease this pressure load on our pelvic floor we can exhale and lift our pelvic floor before and during the move upwards. Once you are up out of the saddle you can relax your pelvic floor and breathe normally. Focus on good posture.
With speed on a spin bike it is helpful to have some resistance on. You don’t want to spin madly without any. Always check your posture, be warmed up and remember to breathe when adding resistance or speed. Try not to hold your breath as you concentrate.
Try a few of those tips next time you are on a spin bike. Let me know how you go. Happy spinning.