Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spinning During Pregnancy: How to Ride Safely when You are Expecting

So many people are making the assumption that I'm about to pop. But really, I've got eight weeks left. Does this mean I look huge? Don't answer that. I'm rolling with the fact that I'm short and carrying everything right in front, thus appearing physically overwhelmed by all that is baby. I mean, just looking at the numbers, I'm in a very healthy range for weight gain. And I'm still teaching, moving and feeling well.

Except on the bike. Things are getting a little tricky on the Spinning bike these days. I teach one 45-minute class every Tuesday. And honestly, I'm still making my way through it safely and effectively...but the bump, it's really starting to get in the way! I currently have my handlebars set up to the highest point, which is not normal for me but totally rideable. And I noticed today that standing climbs are somewhat uncomfortable. Too much compression in the mid-section...I'm basically kneeing this kid with every turn of the pedal. Thankfully, though, I can run upright with resistance to get a similar effect. Yay for modifications!

Needless to say, I'm turning over my class at the end of the month, which means I've got two more rides in me. It's for the best, really, even though I'll be sad to store the Spinning shoes for a bit. Which brings me to my next point:

In case you're wondering, it can be completely fine to take Spinning classes during pregnancy.

As with any activity related to pregnancy, I advise you to speak with your OB or midwife. They will place any appropriate restrictions on you, which you can then apply to your fitness activities. And obviously, this is not the time for new adventures or lofty goals, so keep that in mind, too. But if you've spent time in the saddle before you were pregnant, then you should be able to continue riding as long as your pregnancy allows it. 

1) Drink plenty of water before, during and after your class.
And yes, I know this sounds like a nightmare when you're pregnant, but good hydration is absolutely essential. Even if you aren't pregnant! I yell (nicely) at anyone that comes to my class without a water bottle. And take this one step further for me: Don't show up on an empty stomach. Your body is already working overtime to bake the bun, so give it the right kind of fuel to continue.

2) Make sure your bike is set up properly, and adjust as needed.
As your belly gets bigger, you'll start to feel cramped when you're holding on to the handlebars. Raising them up a notch or two can help. If you do this, have the instructor double-check the rest of your adjustments. The slightest tweak can (sometimes) affect the rest of your settings.

3) Be careful when riding out of the saddle.
Remember, your center of gravity is off right now, which makes balance a true test at times. If you cannot hold proper form, or if you feel less than steady, ride in the saddle. Turn standing climbs into seated climbs, etc.

4) Turn sprints into manageable cadence/speed increases. 
If you've ever done a sprint in a Spinning class, you know that it shoots your heart rate through the roof. While the "keep your heart rate below 140" rule is somewhat null and void at this point, you'll still want to be careful with extended periods of high heart rate work. And by "high heart rate," I certainly mean at max, which is where sprints can take you. Play it safe and stay effective by simply increasing your speed without going "balls to the wall," if that makes sense.

5) Stay cool.
Overheating, even when you aren't pregnant, is never a good thing. Choose a bike that situates you near a fan or some other type of airflow. It doesn't have to be directly on you, which can be annoying, but having it flow around you in some way will make a huge difference in your comfort.

6) Don't let your knees fall into misalignment. 
When it comes to riding, proper knee placement is everything. You've probably seen someone riding a bike, essentially pedaling with the outside of their foot, which kicks the knees out to the side at an odd angle, right? That's bad. And that's what your legs will want to do when the knees start hitting the belly. Again, raising the handlebar can help. But if you have to compromise form because the belly is too big, well...maybe, just maybe it's time to choose another form of cardio.

7) Don't skip out on your warm-up or cool-down.
Remember, it's your ride and any good Spinning instructor should respect your need to warm up just a little bit longer or cool down just a little bit sooner. You will not, obviously, be cheating yourself of any benefits. On the contrary, you'll be keeping yourself safe. In addition, modify your intensity throughout the ride if need be. You're pregnant—It's totally okay if you can't keep up! (See #4)

8) If your lower back starts to hurt, sit up straight. 
Gravity is pulling that belly down, down and down and this (of course) does a number on your lower back. If you start to feel it while riding, sit up straight in the saddle for a bit and realign your spine. But, if this is how you have to ride for the duration of the class, again, it might be time to pick another form of cardio. Or to adjust the handlebars. (See #2)

Again, despite the above, we preggos need to really listen to our bodies. They are experts on all things us, especially when we've got buns in the oven. This is not a time for super high intensity weight loss goals galore. It's a time to maintain our fitness, health and overall happiness as we take that road to labor and delivery.

I promise, take care of yourself now and it'll most likely pay off post-pregnancy!

Question: Moms and moms-to-be, did you take/are you taking Spinning classes during your pregnancy? Spinning instructors, have you had any pregnant ladies in your classes? How did they fare?


Courtney @TriGirl Chronicles said...

Somewhat off topic, but I adore your pink shoes! Are they Shimano SPD?

adailydoseoffit said...

Thanks! They're Diadora with SPD clips. I got them for Christmas a few years ago...literally did a Google search for "pink Spinning shoes" and that's what came up. Love them. I'm all about bright and bold when it comes to my fitness footwear :-) Color aside, I've been really happy with how they wear, too. Super comfortable, lots of room.

Mandy Nester said...

I think you are doing fantastic! You asked me the other day if my belly was getting in the way...it started bumping the handlebars when I was teaching class yesterday. It hadn't done that yet! I am tall (almost 5'8") so I have my seat and bars high...I think my toosh is what's bothering me more than anything. I broke my tail bone years ago and I think there must be increased blood flow in my groin which is causing more sensitivity. I hope to teach through May (6 more classes) which will be about 32 weeks for me. Even if I have to get off the bike and teach, I plan to do just that!

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...