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Muscle Sport Magazine

4 Injuries You Risk When Including Spinning in Your Fitness Routine

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By Mike Jones – Spin cycling has become quite popular over the last few years. Spin is the adopted word for indoor cycling and involves a stationary bike with various tension levels. The concept is popular with people of all ages and abilities. Most gyms employ some type of cycling class, but you can do spin in the comfort of your own home too. There are a variety of in-home folding bikes that will allow you to quickly and easily catch a workout.

Spin is a great way to burn calories and earn a full-body workout without the banging and drama of a weight lifting or running routine. While spin is known for being much gentler on the body, there are a still a variety of injuries that can be obtained from this popular workout. Here are four of the most common spin injuries:

Handlebar Palsy

This condition derives from the tight and constant grip required for completing a spin class. More specifically, the palsy is caused by irritation of the ulnar nerve in the hand. The ulnar nerve runs the length of the arm and down to the hand. This nerve becomes inflamed when the hand must absorb the shock and vibration of the handlebars. In many spin classes, participants are often tasked with standing up and other maneuvers while cycling. This requires balance, and many participants will overcompensate by gripping the handlebars too tightly. In addition, as the intensity of the class increases, participants tend to “white knuckle” through the exercises. For new cyclists who have not been trained on relaxing the hands throughout the ride, this condition is especially prevalent.

To avoid this uncomfortable condition, you should consider some cross-training specific to cyclists. Engaging in side training and strengthening the upper forearms will help prepare you for your rides. You should also consider wearing gloves with some padding to reduce the shock. Lastly, consider evaluating the positioning of your bicycle. You should avoid positions that require you to lean forward on your handlebars excessively.

Achilles Tendonitis

This painful condition is the result of inflammation in the Achilles area. The Achilles tendon is a highly sensitive area of the lower leg and is used pretty heavily in cycling. The tendonitis is generally caused from overuse, but can also be a symptom of poor bike fit or placement of the feet. If your body is not positioned properly on the bike or your feet are not securely fastened to the pedals, you could overcompensate for this and contribute to the inflammation.

There are many ways to prevent this condition. Firstly, you’ll want to adjust your spin bike seat covers so you’re in a comfortable seated position. If your saddle is too high, your foot will be naturally plantar flexed which will cause you to use your calf muscle more heavily throughout your ride. This position can contribute to the tendonitis. You’ll also want to adjust the handlebars of the bike so you’re not leaning forward too much. This leaning position can cause your toes to jut forward in your shoes and will again cause more strain on your calf muscle. Making these adjustments to your bike prior to class will help balance your weight and provide your Achilles more time for rest throughout the class.

Saddle Sores

This condition can cause tremendous discomfort, but is common for avid cyclists. Saddle sores are caused by long hours on the bike seat, old shorts, or a seat that is too high. The friction of your sit bones against the seat is pretty intense during a hard workout, and your pelvis shifts around on the seat a lot during class. This intense friction leads to what is commonly referred to as a saddle sore. This uncomfortable skin condition appears in the form of a blister or rash and can last for days at a time.

As protection against saddle sores, you’ll want to adjust the height of your seat to a comfortable position. Engage the help of your instructor or a professional when determining the proper height. You should also invest in high quality riding shorts. Of course, shorts are a matter of preference, but you should consider investing in a pair that houses a lot of cushioning. This will create a barrier between your sit bones and the bike seat, and can help reduce some of that tension.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common issue with frequent cyclists. The spinal column connects with the pelvic bone which is used heavily in cycling, so this is not a surprise. If the biker does not have a strong core, the position required for biking can cause unnecessary strain on the lower back, as weak core muscles require the back to work harder to generate the power necessary for completing the ride.

To avoid back injury, it is recommended that spin class participants engage in solid core work outside of spin class. As with all the other injuries, back pain can also be caused by poor set up of the bike. Make sure your seat and handlebars are positioned in a comfortable and appropriate way so you’re not awkwardly leaning on your handlebars.

Conclusion

Overall, spin class offers a solid workout for anyone looking to change up their workout routine. Cycling offers a host of health benefits, but participants should be aware that injuries can still take place. You can avoid most injuries by ensuring your equipment is set up properly, taking time to stretch before and after class, and wearing appropriate clothing for the workout. An awareness of these common injuries is the first step in pursuing and enjoying spin class. If you’re looking for a new workout routine or need a change of pace, consider spin cycling and everything it has to offer!

BIO: Being an avid mountain biker, Mike Jones tried to increase his endurance with spinning. After a few sessions of hardcore training, he ended up with handlebar palsy. Now, Jones tries to educate the other newbies on spinning by launching Exercisebikesexpert.com.

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