For Instructors Spinning

Saddle Height and Power

Saddle height. Get it right. Very cool abstract/study just came out in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning. Tell you about that in a second. Do you really look at EVERYONE before you teach? Do you evaluate saddle height (and of course fore-aft and handlebars where applicable). But saddle height (SH) is muy importante! If SH is off, so is power and so is the increased risk of injury. If power is off, then your rider will get less efficiency out of the class. Less efficiency means less calories. On the road, if SH is off, we may get dropped or use too much one muscle group. The study. To paraphrase, the study showed that the 25-35 degree angle is optimal. They did 8 trials of both "tempo" and higher end efforts to gauge VO2, heart rate, RPE and peak power. It is one of the few studies that looked at the angle versus 109% of inseam models. I often measure both right and left leg when I am fitting someone to look for discrepancy and shoot for an angle that causes the most efficiency in the pedal stroke. As an instructor, what can you do to illustrate this? Get a goniometer. Its a cool device that shows angle. It is my #1 weapon to really drive home the visual of the angle. Now, remember on a SPINNING bike there are issue to contend with like geometry, crank arm length, saddles and Q factor that may be different than someone's bike. Angles may vary between outside v. inside measurements. If you need to reference the study, it is called Effects of Saddle Height on Economy and Anaerobic Power in Well-Trained Cyclists.
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