The Biggest Mistake You're Making On Your Peloton

If you've joined the cycling phenomenon of Peloton, you already know it's more than your standard exercise bike. Back in 2019, The New York Times speculated that the striking black-and-red bike with the big screen might be just another at-home fitness trend, a notoriously fickle space. But then came 2020 — the year of at-home everything – and, well, let's just say the bike with the big screen isn't slowing its roll.

But whether you're just clipping in for the first time or heading for your next badge on the leaderboard, it's important to be aware of common mistakes that could be robbing you of your best workout, or worse, setting you up for injury.

According the Peloton Blog, incorrect form often starts before you even clip in, with the position of your seat. "So often riders are either too low or high or too far forward or back in the saddle," says instructor Christine D'Ercole. "These issues can cause discomfort in the joints, as well as muscle engagement imbalances and reduced efficiency." 

When the seat is positioned correctly, there should be a slight bend in your knee, even on the downstroke. Fitness expert Kelly Chase told Aaptiv, "If you have a significant bend in your legs still when they're in the down stroke, or if they're completely straight, this means [that] you need to tweak the height of the seat again." 

Proper cycling form is key to a great and injury-free workout

SoulCycle instructor Alex Canter reminds Daily Burn readers to not let their feet and legs do all the work. The core is key. "Your core is where you'll propel most of your movements on the bike. Imagine an invisible string pulling you from the center of the body when you ride."

You'll also want to make sure you don't have a death grip on your handlebars while indoor cycling. Peloton instructor Robin Arzon suggests that if you feel tempted to white-knuckle the handles, it's probably a sign that you need to increase your resistance, which is about more than just making the ride tougher, it's a safety concern too. "Riding without enough resistance can wear on your joints, and cause injuries and discomfort," Arzon explains. "If you're bouncing around in the saddle or jerky with leg movements, add enough resistance until it feels like the rubber meets the road — it should feel gritty even on flat roads and during active recoveries" (via Peloton Blog).

Fortunately, most instructors remind their riders to check in with their form throughout class, so be sure to listen up. You might even want to place a full-length mirror in your workout room so you can check in on your form. But once your shoulders are down, your grip on the handlebars loose, and your feet and legs are in proper alignment, you're cleared for takeoff!