What Are The Different Hand Positions In Indoor Cycling?

What Are The Different Hand Positions In Indoor Cycling

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Indoor cycling can put a lot of strain on the body so this is why it is very important to have the correct form when cycling.

During any standard indoor cycling class, there will be different movements and stances you will be getting into so it is vital that your hands are placed in different positions to not only help with the certain cycling movement you’re in but also to keep injury at bay.

If you have ever taken an indoor cycling class before, you may have heard the instructor call out ‘Hands on Position 2’ or ‘Hands back onto Position 1’

So what are these handheld positions you’ll come across?

Well, there is 3 main positions.

Handheld Position 1

Handheld Position 1

This is the inside/ mid-section of the handlebars closest to you. This is generally in the form of a ‘U’ or crescent shape.

You would usually hold this part of the handlebars when warming up or cooling down.

Here the resistance will range from light to below moderate but the cycle shouldn’t be to taxing on you when in this position.

Make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent and not having them flaring out by simply relaxing your shoulders.

Handheld Position 2

Handheld Position 2 (Overhand)

This is the section just below section 1 where you will shift your hands wider so that your hands are parallel with knuckles facing forward.

You can either have your hands over on the inside of the handlebars or under and the outside of the handlebars.

Handheld Position 2 (Underhand)

Play around with it to feel what’s best for you.

You can also place your hands just at the corners of the handlebars here also where the handles begin to rise up.

Handheld Position 2.5

Some refer to this as position 2.5 but it more or less still falls under position 2.

Here the resistance is generally in the moderate range. This is where your hands are placed during seated climbs, seated sprints, standing positions and jumps.

You want to make sure that your shoulders are relaxed again with a slight bend in the elbows just like in position 1.

The aim is to try and get the shoulders away from the ears to help create a more natural and relaxed position.

Handheld Position 3

Handheld Position 3

This is going to be at the top of the handlebars, towards ‘the horns’ of the handlebars.

Place your hands just on the outside of the bars with a nice relaxed bend in the elbows and make sure to keep them in without any flaring.

Handheld position 3 is used for standing climbs and sprints. This is where you’re going to be when resistance is cranked right up between 80-95%.

This position is generally only held between 30-60 seconds.

What’s important to remember about this position is that because your legs will start to burn you may feel you want to lean into the handlebars.

Try to avoid this.

By leaning in, you will be disrupting your supply of oxygen into your lungs and in turn make your cycle more difficult and uncomfortable.

Keep your chest and head up and this will allow you to breathe more effectively.

What If These Positions Feel Too Uncomfortable?

The main reason why these positions will feel uncomfortable is probably down to the bike being setup at the correct height for you.

There are a few ways you can alter the bike to make it a perfect fit for you.

Adjust The Saddle

Getting the right saddle height is very important when setting up your spin bike as not only will it stop your cycling from being uncomfortable but it will allow you to drive the pedals more effectively.

If your saddle is set too high you’ll lose leverage and power in your pedalling. If your saddle is set too low, it can put the knee at an awkward position and may cause knee pain.

So to get the right height in the saddle for you, stand both feet on the ground next to the saddle.

Adjust the saddle bar to where it meets your hip. This will be the ideal height for you.

Adjust The Handlebars

Here you’ll need to fine tune your handlebar height in order to take any unnecessary strain off your neck and back.

Having the right setup on the handlebars is going to provide a more comfortable cycle but also allow you to hold your positions for longer and provide a more effective workout.

Now, if you have been cycling regularly before and have no strains or back problems then you want to set your handlebars where they are more or less in line with your saddle.

This position keeps your bum raised, your back straight and shoulders relaxed which in turn keeps a slight bend in the elbows.

Now, if you do suffer from back or neck problems I suggest raising the handlebars slightly higher than the saddle.

This will take a slight pressure off your back and should be more comfortable.

If the handlebars are set too high though, it can cause a lot of stress on your back and shoulders and knock your form completely off.

If the handlebars are too low and set below the saddle height, it’ll knock your balance off and to be honest you’ll just look silly!

Bottom Line

Indoor cycling classes consist of a number of different positions whether this be when your:

  • Riding on flats
  • Climbing hills
  • Sprinting
  • Performing jumps

Each one of these will have these handheld positions discussed above which will not only allow you to get the most out of your indoor cycling class but will keep you in proper form and keep injury at bay.

Always make sure that if any of these positions seem unnecessarily uncomfortable then check your bike setup.

I hope this has helped, if you do have any questions please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.


Here Are Some Of My Favourite Indoor Cycling Devices

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful when finding new ways to make your indoor cycling more fun & enjoyable. Here are some devices I use myself personally that allows me to really get the most out of my indoor cycling. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to use any of them, I will earn a commission but at no extra cost to you.

Indoor Bikes: If you’re looking for your first or next indoor bike there are two I highly recommend. In the UK, is the Joroto X2. In the US, is this Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy SF-B1851. These bikes are incredibly well made and come in at a very affordable price.

Heart Rate Monitor: To measure my heart rate accurately and effectively, it has to be the Wahoo TICKR. This is an incredible piece of fitness equipment that allow you to see just how well you’re performing on the bike by measuring your BPM, calories burned & what heart rate zones you are in.

Cadence Sensor: To measure your cadence, I use the Wahoo RPM Cadence sensor. This little piece of equipment can be easily attached to your shoe or crank arm and delivers accurate pedalling metrics on how fast your legs are moving.

Power Meter Pedals: To measure my watts and power, I love the Favero Assioma Power Meter Pedals. You simply attach these to your bikes crank arms, start pedalling and it will automatically pull in your speed, cadence and power output.

Personalised Nutrition: This necessarily isn’t a device however nutrition is very important to meet your fitness goals. Here I recommend Nutri-Genetix (NGX). NGX are a company I love working with that deliver personalised nutrition that is designed around my specific genetic makeup straight to my door. You’ll also get a 10% discount if you use my my code CYCLEFROMHOME10.

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