8 Ways For Reducing Indoor Bike Seat Pain For More Comfort

Last Updated on March 29, 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
Topics we've covered

Have you recently bought an exercise bike to shed some weight and get fit but noticed the bike seat hurts your butt?

Well, you’re not alone, this is a common problem we indoor cyclists face. But I’m here to tell you how to make your exercise bike seat more comfortable.

I experienced this problem soon after purchasing my exercise bike and knew that there had to be a way around it. So I started looking online for some answers and thought I’d save you all a little time by putting together the eight best methods here.

There are lots of reasons you may be getting a sore butt from biking, it could be anything from the type of seat you have to what kind of leggings or shorts you’re wearing.

But before you panic and drop $20 on padded cycling shorts,

I’m about to tell you everything you’ll need to know about preventing bicycle seat pain. I’ve looked at types of stationary bike, seat adjustments, and even some stretches you can do to relieve pain.

Here’s a general tip you can use right now – when you’ve finished your workout switch into clean, loose-fitting underwear and shorts or pants, this reduces the likelihood of getting ‘saddle-sores’ which if left untreated can grow and even cause infections.

So, let’s get started and I’ll tell you how to make your exercise bike seat more comfortable.

Make Sure Your Bike Is Set Up Properly

This is arguably the most essential factor when avoiding bicycle seat pain while riding. Adjusting your seat correctly can prevent back pain and improve your overall workout efficiency.

If your indoor cycling or spin bike seat hurts you while cycling then it may be worth adjusting your seat up and down.

Keeping the handlebars higher is the best way to go as it improves posture while riding. If they’re too low then you’ll be hunched over and while you may look like your doing the Tour De France you’ll end up coming away with some nasty backache.

Here’s something to try,

Sit on the saddle with one pedal at the bottom of rotation (at a 6’o’clock position.) You should be able to put your foot flat on the pedal with a slight bend in the knee. If you can do this then your handlebars are in the right place.

What Type Of Seat Do You Have?

Most exercise bikes come with a different type of seat, some are small, large, padded, cushioned, and more.

I know what you’re thinking,

What type is best? Well, first and foremost you need one that’s going to fit the shape and size of your bike saddle otherwise the seat will slide about. Most spin bikes have a thin saddle that limits the amount you sway from side to side but in turn, causes a sore butt from biking.

One of the most comfortable seat types is the gel seat however, these do not last as long as padded seats which are another comfy alternative.

So now you know which seat you’ll want for a comfier ride so losing weight isn’t harder than it already is.

Get A Comfy Pair Of Cycling Shorts

Wearing any old pair of shorts and leggings may be causing more pain than is necessary so if you are in a lot of pain investing in a pair of cycling shorts may do wonders for your comfort while riding.

The suspender style and the ‘bib’ shorts are used by experienced riders as they’re more comfortable over long periods and won’t cut off circulation.

Now,

If you’re still looking for that little bit extra then gel padded shorts will be perfect for you. This should prevent any bicycle seat pain and make your workout a breeze, and more importantly, a comfy breeze.

Check Your Posture

Posture is vital when riding on your indoor exercise bike, if it’s not correct then you will put pressure on the wrong places which can cause lasting aches and pains if not addressed.

Now while you want different things depending on what you’re doing there are some general things you should take into account.

First off, pull your shoulders back and lift your chest so you’re sitting proud. This will help arch your back as slouching can cause back pain.

Bend your elbows slightly and squeeze your core, it’s also important to make sure your handlebars are adjusted properly in the way I told you before and that your arms don’t stretch out too far.

Once your posture is correct you’ll find your overall comfort and even performance is better as you’ll get more oxygen and blood pumping as you cycle.

Move Around And Change Positions

There are a few positions you can cycle in on your exercise bike with each one stretching different muscles. 

It’s important to rotate between positions especially if you start feeling uncomfortable as sitting the same way for an hour can cause pain and it’s also boring!

The two primary positions are seated flat and standing flat. These can be slightly adjusted with your hand positioning, you can grip the handlebars or just rest your hands together on them.

When standing be sure to use a higher resistance as if it’s too low you may injure yourself due to fast-moving pedals.

What does this all mean?

It’s simple, experiment with some different positions on your exercise bike. Once you’ve found some you like and are comfortable then rotate between them throughout your workout. This may reduce some of the pain you have while cycling.

 

Use Chamois Cream

This is popular amongst cycling pros and in case you’re wondering it’s pronounced “shammy” cream. This is used to decrease the friction that builds up while you’re riding in the saddle.

Be careful not to apply too much though as this should only be used in small quantities. As a point of reference, the size of a nickel should be enough cream.

While chamois is normally used and recommended with cycling shorts it can also be used with underwear and other gear.

Simply put?

Apply a small amount of the cream to the padding or if you prefer straight to the parts that tend to chafe. This should prevent you from getting a sore butt from biking.

Resistance And Footwear

While not related to your seat this is useful stuff to know.

Resistance will give you a better workout and makes your upper body a lot more stable. Just simulate a similar amount of resistance to if you were out and about cycling. While low resistance is easier, it does nothing and makes you complacent in your posture and form.

Linking in with this comes footwear. Buying shoes that clip into the pedals giving you that extra support. Cleated shoes make it easier to drive your foot through the whole pedal resulting in more power with each rotation.

The bottom line is,

With the right shoes, you’ll be able to follow through with pedaling and have a better grip on those higher resistance levels.

This reduces the chance of slipping and with higher resistances you’ll be pushing yourself harder, leaving you with a more efficient workout and hopefully some reduced pain. 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Once you’ve applied all of the above all you can do is get cycling. It is a known thing that your bicycle seat hurts your butt so practicing these methods and cycling, in general, will get you used to the feeling of everything.

There are also workout programs online that you can find easily, these will give you pointers on form and routines that are better for those of you who have a thin, small seat that hurts your butt. 

But the most important thing?

Don’t be discouraged, exercising can be a slow process at times but if you follow the correct steps you’ll begin to get used to the feeling of your seat and what positions cause your butt to hurt the most.

And to top it off you’ll never end up sticking to one routine, using an exercise bike means you’ll constantly be looking for new steps to add to your program or upgrading your bike for a better model that has the comfiest seat you’ll ever sit on.

Which Type Of Exercise Bike Has The Comfiest Seat?

There are three main types of exercise bikes all with different purposes and varying seats.

Upright Bike – The upright bike is the most commonly used type of exercise bike, it’s similar to a standard bicycle and exercises the same muscles as one too.

The seat for an upright bike can be uncomfortable especially on cheaper models however, some do have padded, cushioned, or gel seats that prevent bicycle seat pain. On some models, you can even get backrests that offer some extra support while you ride.

 

Recumbent Bike – The recumbent bike is in a reclined position and therefore the most comfortable of the exercise bikes. 

On the other hand, fewer muscles are worked while using one of these so it’s not an ideal choice unless you have reduced mobility or really can’t cope with the seat on your upright bike.

 

Dual-Action Bike – A dual-action bike is similar to an upright besides having large handles you can pull while cycling.

While this is good for cardio and strengthening muscle the seat is often much similar to an upright with there being exceptions on some models where you’ll find padding, cushioning, or backrests.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • What is the comfiest type of exercise bike seat?

This all depends on how used to riding you are. As a beginner I would recommend using a gel seat, it is the most comfortable and will reduce bicycle seat pain. 

However, as you get more used to riding you’ll find a gel seat is uncomfortable. Padded seats are comfortable but not for long periods of time so if you’re opting for a long workout your best bet is a slim, hard seat.

 

  • Why does my butt hurt from biking?

Your butt may hurt for many reasons. If you’re a beginner then it may just hurt due to lack of experience riding, while it’s not a pleasant thought, you will get used to it the more you cycle.

On the other hand, it could be due to the positioning of your seat, type of seat, or perhaps how your sitting. Invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts to reduce any butt pain.

 

  • Would a recumbent bike be better for butt pain?

Yes, in general, recumbent bikes have much comfier seats with backrests so your workout would be much more comfortable. 

However, changing to a recumbent bike may not be the best option for your workouts as they aren’t designed for high-intensity workouts. A recumbent bike should only be considered if you aren’t interested in high-impact workouts or have reduced mobility.

 

Summary

Getting a sore butt from biking can be very offputting especially for beginners but it’s important to know there are lots of remedies out there so try a few of them before you put your exercise bike into storage. 

Now,

There are also other kinds of pain that you get from cycling your stationary bike as I touched upon earlier. Any pain while cycling isn’t good. Your workouts should be comfortable and pain-free.

If you’re still not sure how to make a bicycle seat more comfortable here are the primary methods. First and foremost, adjust your seat and handlebars correctly.

Secondly, you can try padded cycling shorts, these should remove any butt pain you have, and lastly, check the type of bicycle seat you have.

Most importantly, however, keep practicing. The more you cycle the more you’ll adapt and the more fun you’ll have which is the primary ingredient in any good workout routine.

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