This year I've been focusing on rebuilding my strength after having my baby. I'm now 5 months postpartum have slowly been taking this time to rebuild and get stronger after having my baby. I've been working with a postpartum physical therapist for a few months now and one major theme we've been working on has been my form while doing different exercises and moves.
My body got so used to carrying around a huge 10-pound baby while I was pregnant (and overcompensating for it), that it's taking some work to get back into proper form and have muscles activating properly. I'll be the first to admit I've always had form issues - in my running, strength training, etc. and I try to be mindful when I exercise, however, I don't always catch it.
I was chatting with my physical therapist and she asked me about my bike form. I mentioned I had done a basic fitting when I got my Peloton bike, and she mentioned it might be worth getting it checked out. I went home and started looking more into fittings and came across the Team Wilpers Bike Fitting.
In this blog post, I'll share with you my experience getting fitted by Team Wilpers, how to get your own fitting, and more!
Disclosure: Team Wilpers provided me a complimentary bike fitting however all opinions are my own!
Table of Contents
What is Team Wilpers Bike Fitting?
Team Wilpers is Matt Wilper's coaching company that not only does sports private coaching (cycling, runnings, swimming, strength, and triathlon), but they also do offer bike fittings.
A bike fitting is when one of their professionals watches your movements and makes adjustments to your bike so you perform better. The service is now completely virtual, so everyone has access to it now! They offer the service to any stationary bike so you don't need a Peloton to be fitted. Team Wilpers bike fittings are $149 for a 45-minute virtual session.
I had never been on a cycling bike before I got my Peloton. I was mostly a runner, but after a few injuries, my doctor suggested I look into getting into cycling for cross-training. Gyms were still locked down at that point and I loved the Peloton running content, so I decided to give a Peloton bike a shot. I ended up getting hooked and now use my Peloton bike 2-3 times a week for cross-training!
However, since I had never taken a cycling class I never knew what a bike should feel like (or even how to clip in and out of the bike). I did a little fitting video when I first got it and set it to what I thought was right but always felt like something was off. I especially noticed this during low impact rides when I'd do drills with the instructor and they'd mention smoothing out pedal strokes - I never could do that properly. My strokes always seemed forced and not in a smooth circle.
Related Post: Everything You Need to Know About Power Zone Rides
Preparing for the Fitting
A few days before my fitting, I got a few emails with tips on how to prepare for my fitting. They recommended having:
- Something to hold my phone that could give the fitter a view of my bike while I was on it.
- Wearing bright colors or colors that contrast so the fitter could easily see my form.
- Having an allen wrench during the fitting to make adjustments to my cycling shoes (shoe adjustments are also included in the fitting!)
I decided to use my iPhone tripod that I have and set it to the max height and found that was able to get my bike in view perfectly. I also had my Reebok deck nearby in case we needed a little extra height, but I didn't end up needing that.
I ended up wearing black leggings and a sweatshirt and that didn't seem to be a problem. I did make sure I had extra lighting in my room since it was a little dark so I do think that helped.
On the day of the bike fitting I got everything set up and ready! Right on time of my schedule, I got a facetime call (they can also do Zoom if you don't have an iPhone) from my bike fitter! I had an appointment with Brian Hammond, who is a full-time bike fitter for Team Wilpers.
We started chatting about my background. I explained that I'm mostly a runner, but got into cycling a few years ago when my doctor recommended it after I had a foot injury. I had never cycled before but loved Peloton's tread classes so decided to get a bike to complement my running. I had followed the recommended fitting video they had, but I had a feeling that my form still wasn't right as it didn't seem like I could really get as much power as I thought I could. I also didn't feel like I was activating my muscles properly (a common problem I've been realizing I've been having as I've been working with my postpartum physical therapist).
Brian listened to me and then began to ask about any pain while riding. He was really comprehensive about it and helped me even remember injuries I had years ago that I had forgotten about, like my IT band issues. After going through a long list (and opening it up for me to tell him any pain or issues I had), we started getting into the fitting!
Related Post: How to Fit Your Bike While Pregnant
Brian had me do a few squats to see my form and then we got right into it! First we started with my shoes - which I had never looked at since I got them delivered with my bike. Turns out, these needed to be adjusted! He helped walk me through how to adjust them (this is where the allen key comes) and checked my work after I was done. It turns out these were pretty easy to adjust myself! I made the modifications he suggested, then he had me get onto my bike and check out my form.
He very kindly told me that the settings I had (which I had done based on fitting videos) had my bike positioned like a beach cruiser. Once he mentioned this I laughed and agreed - it really did look like that!
While my settings were super comfy for me, they probably weren't doing me any favors in my training. I hopped off the bike and we got to work with settings. First, we started on the height of the bike seat and adjusted it up. This started to make me nervous because I'll be the first to admit that I'm super clumsy and already struggled to get on to the bike at the current seat height - making it even higher made me so nervous.
Brian was so nice and taught me the right way to get on and off a cycling bike. He explained how to clip one shoe in and then use that to help lift myself off the bike. Sure enough - this trick worked and I felt so much more secure getting on to the bike! It also made clipping out a little easier too.
Now that my fears of the bike height were addressed, we raised the height to where it felt and looked good, and moved on to adjusting the height on the handlebar. I had it set to max height - since that was what I thought was most comfortable (I was riding a beach cruiser LOL). We played around with a few different settings, with me hopping on and off the bike to test it out, until we came to the perfect one (basically when my form looked good and I didn't feel uncomfortable or any pain).
Next up was the final adjustment - my seat! This one we tweaked only a little bit because the more we tweaked it I was starting to feel it in my lower back. We found the perfect spot and settled on that.
Now that my bike was properly fitted (it took exactly the 45 minutes the session was scheduled for), Brian asked if I had any additional questions or concerns. I didn't at the time, and he said if anything came up I could always e-mail him.
A few hours after my fitting I received an e-mail from Brian covering everything that we had reviewed during the fitting, my new bike settings, and his contact info in case anything felt off after I had rode a few times with these new settings.
Bike Fitting Review
I am so happy that I got a bike fitting! I've done a few rides since having my fitting and it's been a night and day difference. Before my fitting, I used to have trouble activating my glutes when riding but now that my form has been fixed I'm able to activate a lot easier, as well as cycling now feels like a total body workout to me. I'm also able to now feel my core engaging when I ride (which my PT is so happy to hear!)
It is taking me some time, however, to adjust to this new positioning. Brian did warn me about that. I had gotten so used to my old positioning and my bad form that it's going to take a little work for me to improve on that.
Brian did have a great idea when it came to form improvement. He suggested that I be mindful of my form (shoulders down, core engaged, smooth pedal strokes) during intervals and then relax during the breaks. Once I get that down, then I can start expanding holding my form during the breaks in class, and eventually I'll be able to hold form the entire class.
I've been implementing that into my power zone rides and so far it's been working really well. When an instructor calls out for a higher zone, I'll focus on hitting that zone while holding my form. When it's a rest (usually zone 2 or lower), then I relax a little.
Before and After
I took a photo of my before and after my fitting and I can already see a huge difference in my form!
If you have an indoor bike (Peloton or not) I highly recommend getting a professional bike fitting with Team Wilpers. While the free videos online are nice, they ultimately don't address your individual needs and can potentially set you up for injury in the long run. A bike fitting is something that anyone with any brand of stationary bike - Peloton or not- would benefit from.
You can book your bike fitting on Team Wilper's website here. I would book soon - their schedules book up really fast and usually are booking a few months out.
Have you had a Team Wilpers fitting? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is a Fitting?
A bike fitting costs $149
What's Included in a Fitting?
A bike fitting includes a virtual bike fitting with one of the Team Wilpers bike fitting specialists and follow-up e-mail. The fitting not only covers your bike but it also covers adjusting your cycling shoes as well!
How Long is a Fitting?
A bike fitting is 45 minutes long, and then you also get a follow-up e-mail recapping everything as well as a copy of your new bike settings.
Who are Bike Fittings For?
I recommend bike fittings for everyone!
Can I Do a Bike Fitting With a Non-Peloton Bike?
Yes! Team Wipers does bike fittings for any indoor stationary bikes
How to Book a Fitting
Fittings can be booked directly through the Team Wilpers site here. Bookings do fill up fast so I recommend booking ASAP!
Does Matt Wilpers do bike fittings?
That would be cool but I don't think Matt does! Matt has a talented team of bike fitters that work for him.
Who is a Team Wilpers fitting for?
I recommend a Team Wilpers fitting for anyone with a bike - it's nice that there are fitting videos available, however it really does make a difference having a professional fit you. While you might not notice any issues in the beginning, an improperly fitted bike can set you up for issues in the long run and may make cycling not as enjoyable!