Tips for a better bike workout

10/10/2011 5:51 PM

10/10/2011 5:56 PM

You never forget how to ride a bike. But a few pointers can help you get more out of your workout. Use these tips from the October issue of Women's Health to elevate your ride to the next level:

Eyes on the prize — Resist the urge to put your head down when you're going hard or getting tired. It can slow your oxygen intake, tiring you out faster. (Not to mention it spells danger on the road.)

Core performance — While your legs are busy spinning, keep your upper body still — don't rock side to side, especially while climbing. Always maintain a flat back and keep your elbows bent and relaxed (it helps absorb shock when you hit a bump). Hold your arms in line with your body, not out to the side. Keeping your upper body relaxed will reduce strain on your lower back.

Get up — Sitting is the most efficient way to ride — you can use up to 10 percent more energy when you're out of the saddle. But sometimes, like on a monster hill, you need extra power. When you stand, all of your body weight pushes down on the pedals, giving each stroke more oomph. If you stand, shift into a harder gear so your legs don't spin too quickly, rise up, and keep your butt over the seat.

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