The Cycling Mistake You're Probably Making

With the explosion of SoulCycle and Peloton in the fitness industry, it's likely you've hopped on a stationary bike recently. And if you haven't, consider giving it a try. Better Health reveals the many benefits of cycling which include strengthened bones, increased cardiovascular fitness, and improved joint mobility — plus, it reduces stress. But before you hop on a bike, remember to avoid making this common cycling mistake.

CycleBar instructor Karla Walsh shares via Shape that one of the biggest mistakes she made when she first started cycling was gripping the handlebars too tightly. It's only natural as you increase your speed or lift yourself off the seat to stand during an uphill interval, but you're putting your back, neck, wrists, and arms at major risk. Walsh also goes on to state that an iron-like grip on the handlebars can also cause every other move you're doing on the bike to be less effective.

Loosen that grip to avoid unnecessary injury

Gripping the bike handlebars too tightly can also lead to an isolated injury in the hands. The New York Times claims holding the handlebars too tightly can cause major pain in your thumbs. This common "spinjury" can be relieved by loosening your grip and changing your hand positioning on the handlebars throughout a cycling class. Try icing the painful area after a class, and if the pain persists, consider making an appointment with your doctor.

Fortunately, the negative effects of an intense grip during a cycling class can be avoided. Shape recommends aligning your seat so it's at the same height as your hip bone. Adjust your handlebars so they are at the same height as your seat. Taking the time to set up your stationary bike properly will not only help you loosen your grip, but it will also make sure you maintain proper posture and form while cycling.

Gripping the handlebars on your stationary bike can be a natural reaction, especially during the most intense parts of your workout. Remember to take the time to properly set up your bike before use, and change up your hand position every now and then. It's not about getting a grip — it's about finding the right grip. So relax your iron-like hold for the safest and most effective ride.