A few years ago, Tom Scotto and I did a webinar on hand positions. Last week we posted an Ask the Expert about where to put your hands on an indoor bike when you stand up. This webinar is the perfect visual follow up to that post, covering both seated and standing positions.
The webinar provides the practical and biomechanical reasons for where to place your hands while riding. We cover the reasons why we simulate outdoor riding positions (“keeping it real”)—to a point. We discuss road bike and mountain bike positions, riding seated as well as standing, and why you should not ride in an aero position—even if you are simulating an outdoor triathlete or time-trial position.
Tom discusses how power output can be affected by where you put your hands because it can change which muscles are activated in the hips and how much they are activated. In choosing a hand position, a rider may have to choose between comfort and performance.
One thing Tom and I discuss in the webinar is how hand positions are numbered differently by different programs. What Spinning® labels as position #2 (on the tops of the bars) is position #1 with many other programs. (Note: no other program that I know of advocates placing the hands in the center of the bars over the stem, which is Spinning’s HP #1.)
This is one of the reasons why I personally don’t like to give out position numbers to my riders. Instead, I’ll say something like, “you can put your hands anywhere on the top of the bars here (demonstrate) or move them to the side like this (demonstrate). Feel free to move them around as you want throughout the class—it’s what outdoor cyclists do when they ride in order to prevent numbness or discomfort. Just make sure you aren’t stretched out like this (demonstrate), as that can cause discomfort in the neck, shoulders, or low back.”
We end the webinar with an interesting FAQ where instructors got to ask their questions live on the webinar. If you could have been on this webinar, are there any other questions you would have liked to see answered? Are you ever challenged by riders about where they put their hands? If so, leave your question in the comments and I will answer them!
Click the image to view the webinar.