What is the optimum riding position?

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

We're often asked by our clients - what is the optimum position when I cycle? We've put together this article to help our road cyclists.

The correct riding position

There is no such thing as the correct position, only the best position for you as an individual. The setup for a road bike will be different for each person as each individual has different sizes for our arms, legs, torsos, and any other part of the body. As such, when it comes to road cycling, what is comfortable for one cyclist may not be so for the next person.

However, we can suggest a few pointers to ensure you have a good neutral riding position. It starts with the head and goes all the way to your feet. We recommend checking in occasionally with your body position during long rides to make sure you haven’t drifted back into bad habits.

The advantages of maintaining a good cycling position include:

  • greater comfort

  • more efficient riding

  • improved bike handling.

So, what is a good neutral position on a road bike?


1. Relax your shoulders – it is often common when cyclists have been pushing hard on a climb their shoulders stiffen.

2. Lower your shoulders (draw your shoulders away from your ears) – this will free up your head, making it easier to turn and look for traffic.

3. Bend your elbows – this allows your arms to act like a suspension by absorbing impact. Your elbows should be tucked into your sides instead of out wide like wings.

4. Maintain your wrist straight – maintain a straight line from your elbow through your fingers on the brakes.

5. Maintain a neutral spine – your back should be relaxed, keeping a straight line between your hips and your shoulders. Make sure you are always engaging your core.

6. Make sure your knee is tracking over the ball of your foot – if your knees are bowing out to the side when you ride, it will lead to inefficiency and pain.


Where should I place my hands?


One of the cool things about road bikes is that there are three places to put your hands. By having multiple places to put your hands, it allows cyclists to change body positions to use different muscle groups and change their centre of gravity.

Drops are good for downhill. By placing your hands lower on the bar, you are lowering your centre of gravity and putting a little additional pressure on the front wheel. This will add traction and balance while riding downhill.

The hoods are where you will ride most of the time. It allows you to easily shift and reach the brakes while maintaining a relaxed riding position.

Only ride with your hands on the top of the bars for long, steady climbs without traffic. This is because you don’t have as much control over the bike when your hands are on the top of the bars. But with that being said, during long, steady climbs this position can help you recover and breather easier.


Do you have any questions and would like to know more? You are welcome to contact us on contact@breathephysio.com.

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