By Justin Flexen
We get pretty fired up about all the rides available in the MYX app — Scenic, Endurance, Country, Climb, Rhythm, HIIT, Recovery. There’s something for everybody, for every mood, in whatever time you have. And whether you’re pushing pedal to the metal or taking it easy, you’ll want to make sure you’re set up for success.
If you ride with me you probably know that above all I like to focus on proper form—and for good reason. Sitting and moving correctly will improve your riding technique, and keep you more comfortable. You’ll have a stronger ride and walk away feeling accomplished, no matter your workout intensity level. And you’ll help keep yourself injury-free—always a good thing.
Whether you’re new to MYX or have been cycling with us for a while, there are a couple of other things you’ll want to pay attention to. Consider these 3 ways to make every ride your best.
Proper setup and form
The first order of business is to make sure your bike is adjusted properly. You’ll want to be a good distance from the handlebars, not too close but not so far away that it feels like you’re reaching. Or gripping. There should be no strain or pain in your back. You should be positioned upright, with a soft bend in your elbows.
You’ll also want to make sure the saddle is an appropriate height— most people tend to adjust their seat a little too low. How to get it just right? When you’re sitting on the bike with your feet on the pedals, your knees should be slightly bent (rather fully extended) at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This allows you to get a little more range of motion. When the pedal is parallel to the floor your knees and ankles should align.
A proper setup will protect your knees, your lower back, and your neck during your rides. If you’re unsure about your bike adjustments or need a little more guidance, there’s a tutorial in the app about how to properly set yourself up.
On the bike, you want to be as upright as possible. Your shoulders should be down away from your ears, you want to have a nice length of your spine and openness in the chest. You shouldn’t feel like you’re hunching over or crunching.
A strong upper back
Speaking of hunching and crunching, if you’re someone who cycles a lot a lot, your shoulders will probably tend to round a bit because of the position you’re in—the same as from sitting at a computer all day.
To keep your shoulders from wrapping forward, I’d suggest adding an upper body sculpt workout that focuses on targeting your upper back to your weekly schedule. Thinking about it from a holistic approach, strengthening your upper back muscles will help keep your shoulders down and back and your chest lifted and more open, which allows you to use proper core strength.
Many people tend to just want to work their chest. If you cycle a lot you should also be paying some attention to your upper back.
A warm-up foam roll for the hip flexors
You hear our coaches say it all the time: You need a proper warmup before you workout! I love a foam roll as a way to get the blood flowing to the muscles, plus it really helps to open up the hip flexors. If you’re feeling any kind of tightness, you don’t want to bring that onto the bike with you.
I always encourage a foam roll before your ride. You can also do it the day after a workout if your hips are a little tight, which happens from the natural flexion of the hips. Next-day foam rolling and stretching of the hip flexors will prevent you from losing range of motion, and keep things from getting tight and knotted in your quads.
And, for the record, I’m always in favor of adding mobility training to any routine!