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Let's say I use something similar to the exercise bike shown below. When I used to do track, my friends told me while exercising on this machine, to keep a straight back (maybe even a little leaned back), instead of being hunched over (resting your arms/hands on the arm bars). There reason behind this was that staying straight up allows better work on the quads.

Is this statement true at all? I've been using this technique and I find it irritating because I end up sliding forward due to the position/angle of the seat.

Exercise Bike

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's fine to lean over. Depending on other factors, you may lose a few watts of power if you are at an extreme lean, but since you aren't racing or anything like that, it's pretty much a non factor.

What is going to be important is your seat height, and to some extent the position of the knees over the pedals. When you have the pedal at the very bottom of the pedal stroke, with your foot flat you should have some bend in the knee. Too straight then you have to rock your hips or carry your heels really high, and if it's too low you place stress on the knees.

Same with the forward back of the seat, when you are at the bottom of the stroke again, your knee should not be more forward than your toes, or behind the spindle in the pedal. Too much one way or the other also places stress on the knees.

And tell your friends to take a look at any bike race, and see how many of them are sitting as upright as possible (When not eating or taking a leak).

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