Spin bike seat hurts!
Stationary bike seats hurt, don’t they? It’s one of those Facts Of Life, like Death and Taxes.
For the first minute, maybe two, you’re thinking, “This is fine, maybe my butt has just got used to this unforgiving seat. After all, I’ve been working out on this [insert expletive here] bike for the last two months and I’ve got the aching (and slightly more toned) body to show for it.”
But then, minute three hits, like a sledgehammer on your rear end. The pain starts, and stays with you like an unwelcome houseguest, until the end of the workout when you dismount from the bike and stagger to the soft cushions of the couch.
Because I’ve got a pretty low pain threshold (ok, really low), I decided to do some research to see what the best options were for relieving the pain caused by those uncomfy bike seats. I’ve found some great options which have really transformed the spinning experience for the exercise bikers that I know. Shall we take a look?
Spin bike seat uncomfortable? Here are my recommended solutions:
Why are spinning bike seats so uncomfortable?
From beginner stationary bikers to pro riders, it’s true that everyone experiences butt pain caused by their saddle at some stage. The main problem is that when you’re on a bike (indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter) you only have three points of contact with it: your feet, your hands, and your butt.
In terms of the way the weight is distributed your butt takes the strain. Your hands support the least weight and are really just used to keep your balance. Your feet take more weight, but your knees make useful shock absorbers to cushion them. But, it’s your butt that supports most of your weight and it’s resting on a saddle that can often have very little padding.
Sometimes, you can relieve some of the pain by adjusting your saddle. There are two ways that you can try this:
- Raising or lowering the saddle
- Moving the saddle towards or away from the handlebars
There’s a good video here that explains the easy adjustments you can make for this.
The perfect fan to cool you down on your stationary bike is the WAHOO FITNESS KICKR HEADWIND Fan:
- Targeted Airflow Pattern to deal with the toughest workouts
- Sensor-controlled air speed changes with your heart rate
How to sit on spin bike?
Once you’ve got the saddle to the right position, then you’ve got to make sure that your body position on the bike is correct. If not, then this can be another cause of discomfort. If you’re sitting too far forward on the saddle, this can put pressure on the perineum. This is a broad line from the genitals to the anus and too much pressure can cause a great deal of pain. Make sure that your sit bones are positioned right back in the saddle on the widest (and most cushioned) part. Check out this video for a demonstration of the correct way to sit on your spin bike.
Okay, so we’ve got the saddle set up correctly and you’re sitting on it in the correct position. Let’s move on and take a look at the best options from here to get you sitting comfortably.
How to make exercise bike seat more comfortable?
Okay, here are the best of the best ways of making that stationary bike seat comfy. There are four options for you:
- Padded shorts
- Seat cover
- Chafing cream
- Change saddle
Let’s take a detailed look at each of them now.
Do padded bike shorts help? Yes, yes they absolutely do.
I’m always been used to wearing a pair of padded shorts when I go out on a bike ride. I was quite surprised when I first go into exercise bikes and found that other spinners didn’t really know about them, despite suffering from sore behinds and chafing on inner thighs. These are the exact issues that shorts with padding are designed for!
These women’s shorts are a great example of what I’m talking about (there’s a fantastic pair of men’s shorts here). The outer lycra/spandex extends to just above the knee area so it’s the fabric that rubs together, and not tender inner thigh skin. It’s the gel padding on the seat that is really where these shorts deliver. The padding gives great cushioning for your ‘sit bones’ the ones that most of your weight rests on when you’re on a bike saddle and can get the most bruising. I would never cycle on an exercise bike or outdoors without a pair of these.
Slip-on seat covers with gel padding are another great option for making your exercise bike more comfortable. This one from Zacro has lots of cushioning in all the right places. Check your approximate saddle width before ordering (this is for saddles up to 7” wide) and if you need a cover for a wider saddle, then go for this one. Saddle covers like these work great for home exercise bikes and are also fantastic if you’re going to a spin class as they are fast to install – just slip them over the saddle and pull the toggle.
They’re also great where hygiene is a concern – hey, there’s a lot of sweaty butts that have been on those bike seats!
If you’re wondering whether to go with padded saddle vs padded shorts then I’d recommend that you start with padded shorts first. I’ve found these to be the most comfortable to use on the bike and less prone to having the padding slipping around as you shift position on the bike.
A common complaint amongst stationary bike riders is inner thigh chafing.
It’s caused by the skin of your thighs rubbing together as you pedal and your legs move up and down. If you’ve ever experienced it you’ll know that it’s incredibly painful. Your skin can go red and most probably feel like it’s burning.
One of the best ways I’ve found to banish this is to use shorts like the ones above as the tight spandex rubs together, rather than your skin, and this can put an end to the burning. If those aren’t an option for you, or you’re still getting chafing, then reach for a soothing cream like this.
Chamois Butt’r is a widely used anti-chafing cream in the world of outdoor cycling and if you ever find yourself at the start line of a road bike event, then you’ll probably see lots of the competitors, standing in a legs-spread cowboy-style position with a tube of this in one hand and their other hand down their shorts. Don’t worry, it’s nothing untoward! But it is quite amusing to see.
Easy to apply, long-lasting, and very, very soothing to use. A great product and definitely one to pop in your gym bag for your next spin class.
Your last line of defense is to change the saddle for a different type. We already know that the saddles that come fitted as standard with most exercise bikes are not necessarily the most comfortable. But you’re not stuck with it!
This saddle, from Bikeroo, is a great example of the type of replacement seat that you can get. It is extra generous in the width, so gives more support if your hips are wider. It also has extra deep cushioning and, get this, suspension springs (!) that can really help to give much needed relief. It’s easy to fit (it comes with all the necessary tools) and has a huge number of satisfied customers already – check out the reviews on Amazon.
How to make my bike seat more comfortable
Stationary bike seats are really quite painful, aren’t they? A “Fact Of Life”, like Death and Taxes.
Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make the whole exercise bike experience less painful (at least on your butt!) and more comfortable. I hope you’ve found my list of options useful? Like I said, all of these have been a real benefit to the spinners, and exercise bikers that I know. Hopefully they’ll help you too.
I’ve always worn padded shorts when I’m out cycling and so I was really surprised when I started to go into spinning classes and discovered that my fellow masochists didn’t know anything about them. That’s despite suffering from sore rear-ends and chafed skin. Exactly what shorts with this kind of gel padding are designed to stop!
These shorts are an awesome example of what I’m talking about (see similar men’s shorts here). The stretchy outer layer extends to right around the knee area and so the fabric that rubs together…not your skin. It’s the gel padding on the seat of the shorts that is really where these beauties deliver. Great cushioning for your ‘sit bones’ that most of your weight is on when you sit on a bike saddle. I have to say, I’d never cycle on an indoor bike or out on the open road without a pair of these shorts.
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