Indoor Cycling 101 – Hands & Body Positions

This post further expands on your posture on the bike. I explain the hand positions as well as body positioning.

Hand Positions

Hand position 1

Place your hands next to each other in the centre of the handlebars. You can use this in the seated position as well as during warm ups and cool downs.

Hand position 2

Shift your hands wider than position 1, keeping them at the bottom of the handlebars, nearly in the groves where the handlebars curve forward. You can use this when seated or standing as well as during seated climbs, sprints and jumps.

Hand position 2.5

Your hands are halfway up the handlebars. On a road bike this is where the hoods are placed.

Hand position 3

Shift your hands along the “horns” to the top ends of the handlebars, but DO NOT death grip them. Your touch should be light, and you’re simply holding on for balance. You can use this in seated and standing climbs.

Body positions

If you have just taken a class in general, you will hear the spinning instructor call out various movements to shift your body into as the songs progress. Next is a list of the positions and movements you can expect to use during a class.

Seated/Flat road

The position we all start in, seated on the saddle, hands in position 1 or 2.

Seated climb

In the seated position, the resistance gets cranked up. The level of resistance depends on the instructor.


Engaging not only your legs but also your core, stand on the pedals, bum off the seat, back still straight. Hand position 2 or 2.5 will be the most comfortable as this is considered a “running” stance accompanied by light to moderate resistance.

Standing climb

In the standing position, the resistance gets cranked up. The level of resistance depends on the instructor.


It’s race day, and you need to turn those legs over as quickly as possible. Give a sprint everything you’ve got, but play with the resistance to make sure you aren’t bouncing around in the saddle or fly off the bike completely. Hand position 2 for seated sprints, Hand position 3 for standing sprints.


Using controlled movements, transition between seated and standing positions. The pace and number of jumps will depend on the spinning instructor. Use hand position 2 or 2.5

Free spin

I throw these in every so often when you need to catch your breath. Relax into the seated position but depending on your heart rate, you get to set the resistance. You can keep it on a barely-there 3 or take the resistance off completely and just coast.

Remember, no matter the position, always keep your elbows and shoulders relaxed. And never lock your elbows or knees.