Indoor cycling is an excellent form of exercise \u2014 it’s challenging, fun, and provides a great workout.\nBut before you hop on your bike for the first time, it’s important to understand the basics. Matt Tinkey, MS, LAT, ATC, PES, of the UPMC Sports Medicine’s Cycling Performance program shares his advice on what novice indoor cyclists need to know in order to prevent injuries and get the most out of every workout.\n\nIndoor Cycling Setup\nThe first step in preventing injuries is to make sure your bike is set up properly, allowing you to maintain safe and proper form.\nBefore using an indoor bike make sure it is set up properly to prevent injuries. #cycling Click To Tweet\n\nFrom a seated position, lean forward and adjust the handlebars so you feel comfortable. Lowering them gives your core and hamstrings more of a workout, but it’s more important to avoid straining your back.\nAdjust the seat so your legs are slightly bent when you pedal. If the front of your knee hurts when you pedal, raise the seat. If you experience pain in the back of the knee, lower it.\nCheck the distance of your body from the handlebars. With the cranks parallel to the ground, the pedal should be directly below your knee. In other words, if you drew a line from the middle of your knee, it would run perpendicular to the pedal.\n\nCycling Form During Class\nOnce you have your bike set up, you’re ready for class. You’ll want to continue to check your position during your ride to ensure proper form.\n\nUse your whole hand to loosely grip the handlebars so your elbows are about 15 degrees. Using just your fingertips could cause a strain.\nBreathe from your belly and keep your back straight. This will engage your abdominal muscles.\nKeep your hips over the seat. Swaying from side to side can put unnecessary strain on your body.\nRemember, pedals move both ways. Don’t just push down on them with your feet \u2014 make sure you’re pulling up as well, which will work more than just your quads.\nGet the resistance just right. You don’t want to skimp on resistance \u2014 doing so makes your workout less effective and increases your chances of injury. At the same time, too much resistance can take the focus away from big muscle groups, raising the odds of hip, knee, and lower back injuries. Form should always trump resistance.\nKeep your abs engaged during the whole workout for a strong core.\n\nAfter Cycling Class\nA safe indoor cycling session continues even after class wraps up.\n\nIf you wear biking shoes, be sure to unclip them while standing, so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your hips and knees.\nStretch it out. Give your major muscle groups a good stretch after class.\nDon’t stop here: Ultimately, indoor cycling can serve as great practice for cycling outdoors.\n\nDon't stop here: Ultimately, indoor cycling can serve as great practice for cycling outdoors. Click To Tweet\nFind out more about getting fit and staying healthy by visiting the UPMC Sports Medicine website.