Though Indoor Cycling classes are a great way to speed up the metabolism and lose weight, they also have the potential to do severe damage to the alignment of the body. Too many cycling studios encourage intensity over execution, so many riders sacrifice the natural shape of the spine for the sake of working harder. The postural accommodations that the body can make to "keep up" put the healthy biomechanics of the body in danger and will eventually lead to injury.
Among other things, repeated unnatural posturing WILL create muscular skeletal problems, and alter the natural curves of the spine. These changes prompt the body to realign itself to the new irregular shape, which eventually changes the way the entire body moves. Over time disproportionate posturing begins to feel right and natural to cyclists, making it very difficult to correct.
Body positioning; hand, shoulder and weight placement are just a few things that are overlooked in most cycle classes. Doing other exercises while riding may seem time efficient but is counter productive and a sure way to compromise the well being of the spine. Overlooking the importance of the correct way to hold and move the body creates a breeding ground for physical harm.
At NuYu Revolution, our signature POSTURE CYCLE® classes include an education in the invaluable techniques that bring awareness to ones alignment, both on and off the bike. We are committed to assisting our members to live injury free, so Posture Cycle® was designed to bring the mind and awareness to the proper biomechanics and workings of the human body. Posture Cycle® works the core, thigh, butt, abdominal and back muscles. These elements make the classes very challenging, as maintaining proper alignment is not easy, and also supports a close connection between the body, mind, and breath as well.
Working without disrupting the natural positioning of body, creates a clear understanding about what goes where... which is a lesson that will help in preserving our bodies physical health for years to come. With longevity being at it's highest and growing stronger every day, no one should miss out on understanding the right way to move and honor his or her bodies/temples all day, everyday... forever more!
1) Adjust the seat so the leg is almost straight; with a soft knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
2) Engage the abdominal muscles, scooping them in and up, for optimum support in the lower back.
3) Lengthen spine by creating a line from the angle from hips up to the crown of the head, always maintaining natural spine shape.
4) Maintain a neutral spine with the natural curves in tact, (small curve in lower back and neck, with slight out curve mid-upper back).
5) NEVER EVER HUNCH FORWARD, creating an unnatural "C" curve in the spine!
6) Hinge forward only from the hips, while NEVER altering the natural curves of the spine.
7) Keep the ears aligned with the shoulders, while not allowing the shoulders, ears and/or chin to move out in front of the spine.
8) Tuck the chin down to fit the size of a large orange below it, maintaining the natural curve in the back of the neck.
9) Keep the neck loose by nodding yes and no from time to time throughout the class.
10) Keep the shoulders lose, giving them a shimmy now and again, to check for no tension.
11) Relax shoulders away from ears, with the shoulder blades moving towards each other, opening the chest.
12) Keep shoulders from rolling forward as this will change the spine shape.
13) Never put weight on handle bars, use core strength to maintain a lightness in the hands.
14) Track the kneecaps between the second and third toes.
15) Pull up on the pedal stroke in a consistent circular motion, rather than pushing down, putting weight and pressure on the knee joints.
16) Keep the feet in dorsiflexion (flexed at the ankle), through the pedal strokes, protecting the knee from hyperextension & injury.
17) Hold the upper body stabilized and strong, not allowing rocking or movement from side to side.
18) Do not ride upright with hands off the handlebars without appropriate tension to act as a stabilizer for spine safety.
19) Do not cross train, lift weights or move around without the body centered and stabilized, keeping hands connected to the handlebars lightly at all times to avoid injury.
20) Do not ride too hard or too fast without the ability to maintain biomechanically sound posture.
21) Do not pedal too fast to maintain stability in the seat, as it is inefficient work and can severely injure the spine.
22) Breathe deeply throughout class to maintain maximum metabolic efficiency, using the breath to assist in both work and recovery.
23) Do not push yourself to the point of feeling sick, as without proper oxygen flow, the body ceases to function at a high level.
24) Efficiency, consistency and oxygen produce the highest rate of calorie burn
25) Ride nourished and never on an empty stomach, as it's like driving a car without gas.
26) Bring a large bottle of water and hydrate throughout class.
BACKING UP THE TIPS:
Most cycists pedal with no awareness of the alignment of their body, pushing their limits as far as possible... although this can feel more high functioning, below are a few dangers that come along with sacrificing sound posture for high intensity.
Indoor cycling is NOT like riding an outdoor bicycle. Because of the weighted wheel, the resistance/tension exists throughout the entire circle of the pedal stroke, which can create hip, knee and IT band issues if not executed properly.
Any time spent with a "C" curved spine, creates the prospect of postural damage, because when the spin changes positioning, the body makes adjustments to accommodate the abnormal spinal curves.
Upper body with a collapsing spine creates pressure on the vertebrae which can cause bulging disks.
Overextended neck or abnormal extension, where the head is pushing forward, is often a result of shoulders rounding forward. This can lead to major neck and spine problems.
Chin to chest looking at the floor will minimize the air supply.
Chin up creates pressure on the disks in the back of the neck, so eyes should ideally be looking towards the floor one bike length in front of the handlebars. If a rider looks up it should be through their eyelashes, not by lifting the chin.
Shoulders up by the ears can cause chronic neck and headache issues, as well as bilging disks.
The amount of weight and pressure on the spine is directly related to spine positioning, the more abnormal the spine shape, the more weight is being forced onto the spine.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tenderness similar to tennis elbow, shoulder impingements, like tendinitis in the front of the shoulder, a premature upper back "Hump", hip flexor tears, hip weakness, internally rotated hips, IT band issues, knee issues, neck issues, severe back injuries among other problems are the result of improper indoor cycling.
Most cycling classes are creating muscular skeletal damage and injuries where there will be no turning back. Still people are continuing the madness and the damage without any knowledge of what's happening before it is too late. Enforcing bad postural habits will alter the spine health... one bad cycle class at a time, until the damage effects the entire body to the point where it may be too late to ever correct.
NuYu Revolutions POSTURE CYCLE® is designed to serve as a cycling class that combines cardiovascular fitness with full body and specifically core and postural strengthening. We include mindful postural awareness as well as high functioning physical knowledge that in a world where ongoing use of our technical devices among other things can change our physical shapes dramatically.
Biomechanically sound physical awareness during workouts, is a tool to educate on posture placement in everyday life. Understanding what goes where and repeating it regularly until the mind grasps what is and is not correct can change ones postural destiny forever. This way we can embrace our longevity rather than be a prisoner in a body that we unknowingly took for granted.