Clubfit Blog | spinning

Bike Right, Bike Fit

August 24, 2016 by Liz

by Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, MS, CST, RYT

With the beginning of fall and changing of the leaves, people enjoy being outdoors riding their bicycles. The physical therapists at Ivyrehab can teach you preventative measures to avoid bike injuries.

For the average bike rider cycling involves a limited repetitive motion. At an average cadence of 90 revolutions per minute (RPM), a bicycle rider cranks out 5,400 strokes each hour. This becomes 1.5 million strokes in 5,000 miles. So you can just imagine how this can lead to a lot of wear and tear on the cartilage, ligaments and joints of the knee.

I. What you need to know about for a proper Bike Fitting:

The most common bike fitting errors include a saddle that is too high or too low, excessive handlebar reach that causes you to lean too far forward, and improper alignment of the pedal and shoe.

The American Physical Therapy Association recommends that when evaluating a cyclist for a proper bike fit the following assessment be performed:

●Foot to Pedal: The ball of the foot should be over the pedal spindle (the bar in the middle of the pedal on which the pedal “spins”). For cleat users, it is important to establish a neutral position of the cleat on the shoe. This will allow for neutral tracking of the knee through the pedal stroke.

●Saddle and Knee/Pedal Position: Saddle height should allow the knee to be slightly bent at the most extended portion of the pedal stroke. A suggested knee angle at dead-bottom-center is 30- 35 degrees while the foot is in the pedaling position.

●Saddle tilt: Saddle tilt for normal-endurance bicycling should be level. Pay close attention to the portion of the saddle that will be supporting the ischial tuberosities, or “sitting bones.” Cut out saddles allow for better tissue oxygenation. A well-fit saddle will provide the best comfort and results.

●Saddle Position in relation to the handlebars: Saddle position should allow the knee to be over the foot (metatarsal heads, ball of foot) at the 3-o’clock position of the bicycle crank-arm. The foot should be in a normal pedaling position.

●Handlebars: The position of the handlebars will affect the comfort of the hands, shoulders, neck and back, as well as the overall handling of the bicycle. For the Recreational Rider the trunk angle (trunk from horizontal reference line) should be angled between 40-80 degrees, and the shoulder angle (trunk to humerus) should be between 80 and 90 degrees. The handlebar position, should allow the hands to be slightly wider than the shoulder width. This is for comfort of the hands, arms and shoulders. For the Road Rider the trunk angle (trunk from horizontal reference) should be between 30 and 40 degrees, and the shoulder angle (trunk to humerus) should be between 90 and 100 degrees. The handlebar position should be approximately 2 centimeters (or .79 inches) wider than shoulder width for comfort of the hands, arms and shoulders.

The woman trainer teaching to young man the ideal position of the knee in pedaling

The ideal position of the knee in pedaling is to have the knee over the pedal and ball of the foot at the 3 o’clock position.

II. Common Overuse Injuries with Biking

● liotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band):

Possible causes are too-high saddle, leg length difference, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals. Pain is caused when the band becomes tight and rubs over the bony prominences of the hip (greater trochanter) and/or the knee (lateral epicondyle). When the knee is flexed at 30 degrees and is at the bottom of the stroke motion, there is friction on the tendon attachment. Tight inflexible lower extremity muscles may also worsen the condition. The band becomes tight and pulls at the hip and knee causing pain. In order to minimize knee and hip pain, it is important to pedal with low resistance and keep the cadence at 80-90 rpm.

● Chondromalacia:
Another common knee injury is anterior knee pain, such as chondromalacia. This involves irritation of the cartilage behind the patellar and patellar femoral tracking of the knee. If there is a muscle imbalance of the muscles of the anterior thigh known as the quadriceps, the outside muscle (vastus lateralis obliqus) becomes tight and the muscle on the inside of the thigh (vastus medialis obliqus) becomes weak. This results in lateral movement of the patellar which does not “track” smoothly in the patellar groove and results in irritation to the patellar (patellar-femoral maltracking) and anterior knee pain.

● Hamstring Tendinitis
Possible causes are inflexible hamstrings, high saddle, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and poor hamstring strength.
● Neck Pain
Possible causes include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.
● Lower Back Pain
Possible causes include inflexible hamstrings, low cadence, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, poor back strength, and too-long or too-low handlebars.
● Hand Numbness or Pain
Possible causes are short-reach handlebars, poorly placed brake levers, and a downward tilt of the saddle.
●Numbness or Pain
Possible causes are using quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, low cadence, faulty foot mechanics, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.

III. Prevention of Injuries with Stretching & Exercising

●Warm up for 5 – 10 minutes with gentle movement. Stretch slowly and gradually. Also do some stretching after you ride
●Exhale as you gently stretch muscles. .Develop a stretching routine for the quadriceps, hamstrings, ilio-tibial band, piriformis and calves Also, do stretching for your neck, trunk, chest, wrists and hands.

●Hold stretches for 15 – 20 seconds; 2 – 3 repetitions

●Gradual resistive exercise for back musculature, abdominals, legs and arms

●Progress to closed chain exercises

●Progressive functional activities and agility skills

●Partial squats, step – ups and step – downs, lunges

●Proprioceptive training – balancing exercises

●Cross training: spinning, jogging, swimming

IV. Choosing a Correct Helmet

When you are choosing a helmet, fit is very important. For a helmet to protect you it must fit correctly. Other factors to know about a proper hat fit are:

●Make sure the helmet fits on the top of your head and does not tip backwards or forwards. It should be parallel to the ground. There should be about 2 fingers breadth between your eyebrow and the edge of the helmet
●The helmet should not move when you shake or move your head from side to side or up and down.
●Straps should always be fastened and fit snugly. It should also meet certain safety criteria. Look for “Snell Certified” or Meets ANSI Z904 Standard” on the box or on the helmet itself.
●There should be no cracks inside the helmet

Whether you are a beginning bicyclist or advanced rider and have and have an injury that is “holding you back from riding” our experienced and dedicated licensed physical therapists can help you get started. With Direct Access a prescription is not required to be evaluated. Contact Ivyrehab Briarcliff (914) 762 – 2222 and Ivyrehab Jefferson Valley (914) 245 – 8807 or visit our Website: to learn more about Direct Access.


A young man on a bicycle by the Countryside

Club Fit Instructor and accessories maven Barbara Aronowitz

September 24, 2015 by karen

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton


Club Fit Instructor Barbara Aronowitz is co-owner of In2Style accessories, available in The Shop at Club Fit

A woman in a clothes shop named
Barbara Aronowitz in The Shop at Briarcliff, which carries In2Style accessories.

Many of us know and love Barbara Aronowitz for her heart-pumping Spin classes at Club Fit Briarcliff. But what many members DON’T know is just how long Barbara has been a part of the Club Fit family, and the roles she has played in the Club’s history!

Barbara, who now lives in White Plains, was a member at Club Fit Jefferson Valley when she joined the staff as a Group Exercise instructor in 1988. But it wasn’t about Spin back then. “We taught any and every Group Exercise class, Step… any new program that came along,” she says. In 1997 she moved to the Briarcliff club as Group Exercise Manager, and then became part of the club’s original Human Resources Team when it was established in 2001.

All the while, she continued to teach and eventually became a certified Spin instructor, which is her current role at the club these days, where she teaches four classes. Along the way, Barbara has become close with co-workers and club members alike, including Spin class participant Patti Loomis. Patti, who lives in Briarcliff Manor, has been a Club Fit Briarcliff member for 15 years, and loves it. “I take all of Barbara’s Spin classes, and also enjoy Pilates and Definitions.” The friendship between Patti and Barbara began about three years ago, and has now bloomed into a business partnership.

Patti, a former paralegal, was running a gift and accessories business from home, attending distributor shows at the Javits Center in Manhattan and visiting New York City showrooms and selling through local shops. Barbara started tagging along to these shows and one day, about six months ago, the light bulb went on: “Why don’t we go into business together?” And In2Style was born.

Today, Barbara and Patti are selling their wares at The Shop at Club Fit, where shop manager Lauren is helping move their merchandise along. “We love to get feedback, so we hope that shoppers let Lauren know what items they’d like to see offered,” says Patti. “We’re out all the time looking for the latest, newest trends in accessories.” Barbara and Patti also pride themselves on offering multiple price points. “We have things for everyone’s budget!” Keep that in mind when holiday shopping time comes around!

Interestingly enough, this new venture brings things full circle for Barbara, who has a degree in Fashion Merchandising! She says has loved being with Club Fit for these past 27 years, especially because of the flexibility she has had to grow within the club, as well as outside the club. “I feel like I have a special relationship with Club Fit,” she says. “It’s just a great place!”

To get in touch with Barbara and Patti about their venture, or to offer suggestions on what you’d like to see in The Shop, you can email They’d love to hear from you! Or just tap Barbara on the shoulder after Spin class, she’s always ready to talk shop!

Club Fit Members Love MYZONE!

June 1, 2015 by karen

I love that when I am away I can now track my progress (with MYZONE). While it is great to have it tied to the gym and I love seeing it on the screen, I do go away for the summers and this allows me to keep up with my training in a consistent manner. And as we all know with fitness, consistency is key!

There are places in the gym where there are no MYZONE screens or they can’t be viewed (TRX room, certain spin bikes, the new ellipticals). I just realized today, I can just put my phone on and track my progress! So if I am bopping around on different machines/classes, I can continuously monitor myself.

— Club Fit Member Danielle O’Reilly

“Tough Cookie” Julianna Vano Fights Lymphoma

April 27, 2015 by karen

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton


Young Club Fit Member Juliana Vano battles lymphoma with attitude and energy to spare. She is “One Tough Cookie!”

A little girl named Julianna Vano
Club Fit Member Julianna Vano is “One Tough Cookie.”

“One Tough Cookie”! That is how Julianna Vano’s family and friends describe the energetic, nonstop 10-year-old. And she has proven this to be true since her diagnosis in December of Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for up to 30 percent of newly diagnosed cases in the United States. It is an aggressive cancer, but the Vanos, members of Club Fit Jefferson Valley, reacted quickly, and Julianna is well on her way back to good health.

Mom Joann noticed something was wrong back in November, when Julianna became lethargic and was experiencing abdominal pain. “She’s my Energizer bunny!” she said of Julianna, an avid dancer, and soccer and basketball player. “I knew something was wrong when her energy dipped.” The initial bloodwork at their doctor’s office hinted at Hepatitis A, but when it didn’t improve over two weeks, they went to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and scans revealed masses on all of Julianna’s organs. Treatment was started immediately.

Julianna was on a 20-day chemotherapy cycle, checking in to the hospital every 20 days for 5 to 7 days, then taking a week or two off. But she remained active while she was home, continuing her dance classes 3 to 4 days a week (hip-hop, jazz, ballet…you name it, she does it!) and actually competing this past March! She also recently performed at the halftime show during a Westchester Knicks game. Because of the risk of infection, Julianna was taken out of school and her tumbling classes, but is being tutored at home. Does she miss school? “I think she misses her friends,” laughs Joann.

It was supposed to be a three-month process, but the treatment schedule became longer when a follow-up scan showed a small mass remained on Julianna’s kidney, but the hope is that the additional treatments she is receiving now will take care of that. Going forward, they expect her to have four rounds of “maintenance” treatments, then be free and clear by August. “Through most of this experience, if Julianna didn’t lose her hair or wear a face mask, you’d never know she was sick!” says Joann.

The whole Vano family is active, with Julianna and her two siblings, Bella and Tommy, frequenting Club Fit’s Energy Center, and Mom and Dad spending time in the Fitness Center. As mentioned earlier, Julianna plays travel soccer and travel basketball, and is also a Girl Scout, and plans to return to her activities once treatment is completed. Club Fit is showing their support by hosting two fundraisers for the family at both Club Fit locations, a Spin Class and Kids’ Zumba class. May 20th at Briarcliff and May 27th at Jefferson Valley. All proceeds are going back to the Vano family.

The Vanos are also starting a team for Yorktown’s Relay for Life, aptly named “Team Tough Cookie” (which at this writing is the top fundraising team so far)! Look for their tent on Friday, June 12 at Jack DeVito Field in Yorktown Heights. But you can also get in on the action early by joining us at Club Fit for the Spin and Zumba events, and showing your support for our Tough Cookie Julianna and her family!

Why we love the Keiser M3 Plus Indoor Cycle

March 11, 2014 by Liz

The new Keiser M3 MagneticAside from looking completely sleek, this is one of the coolest indoor fitness bikes you will ever set eyes on. Developed by one of the top providers of commercial workout equipment, the M3 Plus is designed with additional bells and whistles missing from other manufacturers bikes. The built-in back lit computer calculates your power output. The Keiser M3 Plus lets you see exactly how hard you are working out and delivers great feedback such as cadence (pedaling RPMs), watts, elapsed time and distance . . . Information that has always left the rider guessing at the end of a class.

The bike has virtually unlimited adjustments that fit any body size and type. It is durable enough to support all of the extra fat that you are planning on sweating off. Both small and tall users love that you can completely adjust the seat and handlebars to get an ideal fit.

The MP3 Plus uses a magnetic system to provide the resistance. This creates a nearly silent and very smooth ride. The resistance adjustment is so exact, so you can just click it into the correct level of resistance when prompted by your favorite instructor instead of “guessing” what level of resistance you should have it set at compared to the current pad-resistance systems.

Our research has been extensive. Trusted resources in the health and fitness community across the country have been using the MP3 Plus for years have shared wonderful testimonials and positive member feedback. The MP3 Plus is a solid bike, has little to no maintenance issues and the lasting durability keeps the bike in service longer than other brands. We feel this investment in our members experience is positive and look forward in taking the spin program to new heights.

Kickboxing: Don’t Be Afraid!

March 25, 2013 by Kendra

A woman doing exercises
This is obviously not kickboxing; I learned quickly that kickboxing is no place for selfies. 🙂 This is me rocking out some TRX earlier this winter.

After crawling out from under a hectic schedule, I was looking for something to change up my cardio routine.  It’s been a while since I’ve tried a kickboxing class, and by that I mean somewhere in the ball park of a decade.  I vaguely remember it being a great workout, but also that it was really, really hard.  (I guess there was a reason I didn’t go back.)  It also brings up 90’s-era visuals of Billy Blanks in a shiny electric blue singlet, which may be either fun or scary, depending on your level of exposure to the “Tae-Bo” fad.

Anyway, I took notice of it on the group exercise schedule when I started here at Club Fit, but since it was labeled as an intermediate class, I stayed far away.  Even now, though I’ve been working out consistently for months, each new activity definitely makes me feel like a beginner again, and I wasn’t sure about jumping right into an intermediate class.  But this week, I considered kickboxing again, because I felt that my cardio endurance had improved (thanks to Spinning), and that my core stability had started to improve as well (thanks to Pilates), and that I had a pretty good chance of getting in a good workout without injury or a traumatically embarrassing fall.

There were definitely a lot of missed steps and a little bit of flailing around, but also a lot of sweating, a lot of using new muscles, and a lot of fun!  The music was definitely inspiring, the moves were fairly easy to follow, and there was a good amount of air-punching involved, so it’s definitely a great way to end a stressful day.  I probably shouldn’t have been so timid to try this earlier, but I won’t worry about it. Now that I’ve started to get the hang of it, I’ll definitely be back.


Superhero Checkpoint: Nine Months Post-Surgery

January 21, 2013 by Kendra

A cancer diagnosis can be traumatizing; it certainly was for me.  A diagnosis that shocking and unexpected can feel like a punch to the face.  Even though I’ve finished my treatment and been declared cancer-free, I’m commonly anxious about follow-ups.  I’m comfortable going to the doctor, being poked, jabbed, and prodded for all kinds of tests, but I have a lot of trouble on Appointment Day, when I go to meet with my oncologist to discuss my test results.  Even if I have no reason to suspect that cancer has come back, the fear of it striking out of the blue is strong and familiar.

On the morning of my most recent follow-up appointment, I was a veritable disaster.  I found myself pacing back and forth, cleaning and organizing the same things over and over again, tapping my feet and rapping my fingers.  My husband looked concerned, and our cat looked wary of me.  I knew I needed to do something with this nervous energy, so I raced to the gym to squeeze in a quick workout before my appointment.

Woman doing bicycle exercises
Thanks to my fellow spinner, who nicely captured me in action with her camera phone!

I arrived at JV just in time for spinning.  Anthony’s class was intense, and combined with my anxiety, my heart rate skyrocketed, and I got tired quickly.  I hate to admit it, but for the first time since my very first spin class at Club Fit, I contemplated leaving class early.  Luckily, I gained perspective, and told myself that if I didn’t quit on day one, I most certainly could not quit now.  I dug deeper for more energy, and before I knew it, I was pumping away on my bike, persevering through stress and distraction, with my ponytail bouncing triumphantly behind me.

In that moment, I realized that one of the greatest gifts that exercise has given me is strength. Not just physical strength, but inner strength. Not just the ability, but the opportunity to pick myself up and carry on, stronger than before.  I don’t know what my future holds, in life, health, or otherwise, but one thing I now know for sure is that I can take on any challenge that comes my way and face it bravely, with my ponytail bouncing triumphantly behind me.

Finally, I’m happy to report that my test results were clear, and nine months after treatment, I am still cancer-free!

Superhero Transformation Logo

Running, running, running away…

January 11, 2013 by Kendra

A woman running in the gym
On the Woodway EcoMill at Briarcliff. Walking, not running. 🙂

It’s no secret that I love spinning.  I talk about it all the time.  My deep dark secret, and the reason I gravitate so much toward a spin bike, is that I….hate…running.

It’s a scary thing to say out loud when you’re writing about exercise and fitness, but I really do hate running!  It feels like I great party I wasn’t invited to.  I’m so jealous of everyone who has ever described a runner’s high, or a gorgeous sunset at the end of an early-morning jog, but I just get no joy from the actual practice.  My teeth bump, my knees complain, my cheeks bounce, I tire easily, and I just keep feeling like I’m getting nowhere.  Even with music, it’s a fight to keep up that pace, because I just don’t love it.

I realized that I have been laboring under the delusion that when my fitness journey gets to a certain point, I will be gifted with love from the Running Gods.  That Nike herself might appear, graciously acknowledge my hard work, and show me the light!  All this time, I thought I was “working up to running.”  Then, I stumbled across a post on SHAPE magazines website that had 20 different profiles of super-fit women who don’t run. Reading through their testimonials, I saw women who were miles ahead of me on the road to fitness, but who shared my exact same complaints about running.  (Can check out the piece)  Guess what most of them named as their number one alternative for cardiovascular excercise?  Spinning!

I guess I’m not doing so badly after all.  I know I’ve said before that everyone’s journey is different, but sometimes we need to be reminded to take our own advice.

What’s your favorite cardio workout?  (It’s okay to say running!)  Let me know in the comments below!

Superhero Transformation logo and clubfit logo

Superhero Transformation, Part 2: I Go Spinning

September 4, 2012 by Kendra

I am trying really hard to resist sharing all the terrible, awful spinning puns I came up with in my mind when I took a spin class last night.  (“If I throw up in this class, do they call a spin doctor?”)  Forgive me: it was only to distract myself from the intense burning in my legs. Holy bicycles, what a workout!

I have to be honest.  It wasn’t pretty.  In fact, it was pretty ugly.  I was breathless, panting like a dog and sweating more than I have in years.  I had forgotten what it was like to get sweat in your eye.  (Ow.)  In the first ten minutes of class, I came to a crashing realization that my fitness level has decreased significantly in the past two years that I’ve been ill.  In hindsight, I can’t imagine why I expected to be able to pick up where I left off in terms of ability.  I guess that’s always been the case for me.  Suddenly, it wasn’t.

Suddenly, I was having to sit down in the seat of my bike while everyone else was hopping up and down.  Suddenly, I found myself having to turn down my resistance because I’d overestimated what I could do.  I felt awful.  Our instructor was incredible – every few minutes she found a new way to verbally coach and inspire us to turn that resistance knob up and challenge ourselves.  I shamefully turned mine down and hoped no one would see.  I struggled with self-evaluation.  “Am I being responsible, or am I being a quitter?  Am I doing the right thing by listening to my body and doing my best, or should I really be pushing myself into the unknown?  Should I be pushing myself yet?  Should I stay here or should I go elsewhere?”

An incredible thing happened.  A mountain of viable excuses were piling up in my brain, but I didn’t give up.  I didn’t walk out halfway through class and console myself by saying I’d start with something easier.  I stayed, and told myself that even if I couldn’t keep up with the class, I would just keep pedaling at the highest resistance I could.  When the time came to push myself, I turned up that knob as high as I could and pedaled as fast as I could.  Finally, when it was all over, I felt amazing.  When I got to the stairs, my legs felt like jelly and I had to carefully hold the handrail on my way down so I didn’t fall.  Still, I felt incredible!

Spin class was more than a lesson in fitness.  I learned how emotional a workout can be.  I know that I sweat my face off, got great cardiovascular exercise, and helped tone my leg muscles, but the most personally rewarding thing I took from class is that I did my best and didn’t give up.  Also, I know that next time, I can do even better. I feel good that I’m on the right path, and I definitely feel like a Superhero today.


UPDATE: Two weeks later, I have tried two more spin classes, and I’ve felt remarkably better each time! I’m amazed at how quickly I improved. It was such a pleasant surprise, and so inspiring, to exceed my own expectations of my abilities. My advice to anyone trying spinning for the first time would be to try it more than once. You may surprise yourself!

Superhero transformation logo clubfit logo