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I have just finished 100 rides and have noticed that 100% of the time I am in the saddle I do not keep my hands on the handlebar. I simply sit upright with arms at the side.

When I started I didn’t do this, and didn’t make a decision to, but trying to go back to leaning forward and putting hands on the bar is surprisingly difficult. I simply can’t do it for more than 30 seconds withoit real discomfort and a feeling of exhaustion.

is this a real problem and I should force through it? Or should I just go with what feels natural?
 

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Hi Ben,

Below is something I found on the Spinning site (an older indoor cycling brand). which sounds correct to me.

I sit up periodically during a ride to stretch out as do many of the instructors. If you sit up the whole time there are at least two issues:
1) if a pedal becomes unclipped you could fall and get hurt
2) you won't generate as much power as it's hard to do a pedal stroke through the full 360 circle

Have you moved your seat all the way forward and your handlebars to the max height?


"Whether you’re doing a Standing or Seated Flat or Climb, riding with only one hand, or no hands at all, causes the rider to lose connection with the bike. When riding unsupported, it is difficult to maintain constant pressure throughout the pedal stroke; the rider can only mash downwards on the pedals. Riding with one or no hands is especially dangerous at a high cadence (110 RPM) or heavy resistance with the body leaning forward (as in a sprint). This position places considerable torque on the lower spinal disks. Also, if you’re riding with only one hand on the handlebars during a Standing Climb and that hand slips, you could fall onto the handlebars or flywheel. Similarly, if the foot slips off the pedal, it would be hard to steady yourself, which may also cause severe injury."
 

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If you sit up all the time you are mainly using your quads, not your hamstrings, core, etc. This will mean less power and you're also strengthening fewer muscles. As mentioned, safety is also an issue.

I would make sure you have the bike adjusted correctly - seat height, position, handlebar height, etc. and start stretching. Maybe try to spend short amounts of time holding the handlebars and increase it over time. Make sure to keep your elbows bent a bit and not put weight on your hands or grip the handlebars too tight. I wouldn't force it.

If it continues to be a problem I would check with a Doctor and/or physical therapist.

Hope that helps. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 
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