4 Different Types of Indoor Cycling Hand Positions

Exercise bikes come with different handlebar shapes and sizes; the handlebar on spin bike A may be different from the handlebar on bike B. And the shape or size of a particular handlebar may take on different hand positions during a workout session. Perhaps, you may have pondered the reason for these differences and come up short − but the reason is nothing other than to enhance performance outcome and workout efficiency and more importantly, avoid hand numbness while cycling indoors!

Handlebar hand positions typically change with workout type. And the hand position you maintain can significantly impact your posture or form during a ride. So if you want to make the most of your cycling sessions, you should pay attention to the different types of handlebar hand positions and how they impact a ride. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! Here are four important and most-used hand positions on a bike:

Cycling Extended Grip

Spin Bike Handlebar Extended Grip

The extended grip hand position is typically employed for climbing and sprinting workouts. If you are looking to improve strength and stamina, this is the grip for you! The hand position strategically places your body in a position that makes strength and resistance training a piece of cake.

In this position, you grip the handlebars with outstretched arms and your elbows slightly curved. However, this hand position is reserved for standing positions as maintaining this form on a seated position can cause back pain.

Cycling Overhand Grip

Overhand Grip Spin Bike Handlebar

The overhand grip is undoubtedly the most used and most comfortable hand position for exercisers. The position allows riders to cycle with their torsos in an upright form while providing maximum safety and security.

The position is great for improving strength and stamina, building endurance and leg speed, and promoting stability. In this position, you close your hands over the bar with your elbows “a tad” straight.

Cycling Aero Grip

Aero Grip Spin Bike Handlebar

The Aero grip is the least suitable for indoor cyclists. It is more suited for outdoor cycling, where it provides maximum drag reduction. The position demands some flexibility, so if you are lacking in that area, it is best avoided. To do the aero position, you should firmly grip the handlebars while in a straight back position.

Your hands and elbows should form a sharp angle at the point where the elbow connects to the lower arms. The aero position tends to be uncomfortable at the first try, so raise your handlebars and gradually lower them until you attain the desired flexibility.

Hook and Drop Grips

Hook and Drop Grip Spin Bike Handlebar

The hook grip bears some similarities with the overhand grip. It also bestows nearly the same benefits as the latter grip. But while the overhand grip barely curves the elbows, the hook grip maintains a significant angle from the elbow to the wrist, which makes it more comfortable. It is the recommended grip for riders that are prone to tension pain.

Drop grips aka racing style grips on the hand is something completely different from other types of cycling handgrips. Normally to reach these grips, you would need to lean completely forward. Unfortunately, these spinning bike hand grips are not available on all spin bikes so you may not have this option at all.

Quick Tips to Improve Handlebar Hand Positions

  • It isn’t a must to stick to the same position. If you notice that a particular position is too uncomfortable, switch to other positions until you find one that suits your comfort level.
  • Don’t treat the handlebars to a death grip. Maintain a loose yet firm touch with the grips. Do not lean heavily on the handlebars.
  • A grip doesn’t have to be uncomfortable before you drop it; it is recommended to vary hand positions to keep pain and injury at bay.
  • If a spin bike handlebars don’t absorb sweat or you can’t have firm grips or even if they are too hard, it’s important to add handlebar tapes to your bike.


Hi there, I'm Sayed Hamed Hosseiny, the founder and one of the authors at yourexercisebike.com (YEB). I am a former indoor cycling instructor and personal trainer with nearly 20 years of experience. With a passion for indoor cycling, I have spent years designing cycling parts, repairing, and importing exercise bikes. All the articles, tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on YourExerciseBike.com (YEB) reflect my personal opinion and expertise in the field. I'm excited to share my knowledge with fellow exercise bike enthusiasts and help people find reliable indoor cycling information and the best exercise bike for their needs. If you have any questions or suggestion, you can contact me at sayed@yourexercisebike.com.

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