Cross-training: Ultimate guide to spinning technique

How do I set up my spinning bike?

Saddle height: You should set the saddle height in line with the top of the hipbone and then sit down to refine. While seated, bring the pedals so they’re perpendicular to the floor – that’s 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock if you’re looking side on. Keeping your feet parallel to the floor, the lower leg wants to have a slight bend and nearly be able to straighten staying in the same position. Once you have a rough height, try cycling and seeing how it feels. Let comfort be your guide - you'll know if you're over-stretching the leg because it will feel uncomfortable.

Saddle distance: Stop with your feet positioned at 3 and 9 o'clock. You want to find a line from the front of your knee down to the centre of the pedal crank, where the ball of your foot should be. This can be a bit tricky as sometimes people shift their position as they try to peer down their knee, so you can always get someone to help you look side on.

Handlebar height: Handlebars want to be at least in line with your saddle height, or higher if you have lower back pain. Generally, I advise people against having them too low as we're not outdoors and don't need to be aerodynamic. Some road cyclists might prefer this, which is up to them.

Ruth Voon is an indoor cycling instructor at Edge Cycle.

How do I clip into pedals wearing cleats?

With the pedals at 12 and 6 o'clock, hold one side steady while you press the ball of the foot (where the cleat should be) onto the pedal. I often tell women to imagine they're in a high pair of stilettos and that's the ball of the foot that they want to push diagonally down and in (guys can use their imaginations too!). Some people find it easier to clip in at 12 o' clock and others at 6 o' clock, so experiment and see which works best for you.

I often joke that this can be the hardest part of the class (it took me ages to master getting in and out of them quickly too), but it's worth persevering as the benefits are huge - you'll use the front and back of the legs equally rather than just loading the quads.

Ruth Voon is an indoor cycling instructor at Edge Cycle.

What’s the correct form when seated?

Your elbows should be pointing towards the floor so your shoulders stay relaxed and your triceps gently active. The cycling position naturally creates a slight forward tilt of the pelvis but I often see people cycling with flat backs. This tends to happen in women who are more able to hinge from the hips but this makes them susceptible to backache as they start to arch the lower spine, unsupported by their abdominals. Imagine making a "scooping" action from the pubic bone which should go all the way up to the head - this creates a hollowing of the whole spine, like an abdominal crunch, which engages your lower and upper abs to help hold your torso stable.

Since spinning is in a studio and not on the road, I encourage people to stay broad across their collarbones, meaning their lungs are fully open so they can breathe more.

Ruth Voon is an indoor cycling instructor at Edge Cycle.

What’s the correct form when standing?

You want to keep the weight centred over the pedal cranks. A useful guide is to bring your hips back over the saddle so you very gently tap the seat while you cycle standing. Bringing the hips back puts the work into the glutes, which is exactly where you want it. You will feel some activation in the quads as you power down through the feet but you also want to feel the hamstrings as you pull up from the bottom of the pedal stroke while the feet stay parallel (flat) to the floor.

You should feel your abdominals gently engaged to help keep the hips stable. Also, your arms will help you balance - activate your triceps by directing the points of the elbows to the floor so the forearms are parallel to one another which helps keep the shoulders relaxed. Your hands reach slightly further forward on the handlebars so the arms are a little more stretched but not completely locked.

Ruth Voon is an indoor cycling instructor at Edge Cycle.