Proper bicycle posture can help you avoid knee pain.
Bicycling is a well-liked activity for competitive athletes and recreational riders alike. It's a low-impact activity that can tone your muscles without putting significant strain on your skeletal system. A person who rides a bike for pleasure might not give much thought to posture, but competitive cyclists know proper form makes a huge difference in the outcome of the race. Proper bicycling posture involves knowing how to hold your back, legs and arms to be efficient and pain-free.
A straight back in cycling helps prevent back pain and helps the rest of your body fall into a natural, neutral position that doesn't feel forced. Back positioning varies according to the type of riding you do. People who use a recumbent bike, for example, ride with a much more upright posture than those who opt for mountain bikes or racing models. Racers who stand up as they pedal also use a more upright form.
The key to proper arm posture for bicycling is to relax. Bend your arms just slightly at the elbow and hold the handlebars gently without leaning over your hands. Square your shoulders so they are straight, not rounded, to reduce tension in your neck and arms. Hold your wrists straight to avoid compression similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Your legs work overtime when you bicycle. Use proper positioning to ride smoothly without pain. Plant your feet firmly in the center of the pedal so your legs are not too close or too far apart from one another. Your foot should angle down slightly to keep your bike cleats hooked into the pedal if you wear specialized footwear. When your foot is on the bottom-most pedal, your knee should be barely bent. "Bicycling" magazine recommends an angle of 25 degrees. Bending comes from the hip in cycling, not the knee, with the hips aligning with the torso. Correct leg posture in cycling not only keeps you more comfortable, but it also increases your efficiency.
Experiencing pain or numbness in any part of your body while you cycle could be an indication that your posture is not quite right. This is especially true if you feel discomfort in your knees, fingers or neck. Knee pain can stem from keeping your saddle too low or tilted forward too much. Neck strain sometimes results when your handlebars are too low or if you are hunching your shoulders instead of biking with a straight back. Gripping the handlebars very tightly can cause tingling or numbness in your fingers. A seat that is too close to your handlebars can also cause problems with your hands. Move the saddle back to avoid putting much of your body weight on your arms.