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Avoid Sexual Dysfunction and Groin Numbness on a Peloton Bike: Sports Physical Therapist's Guide to Peloton Bike Fitting


Peloton Bike Pedal

Peloton bikes have revolutionized home fitness, offering a dynamic and engaging way to cycle. But for some riders, that exhilarating ride can be overshadowed by an uncomfortable truth: groin numbness. This tingling or loss of sensation can not only be unpleasant, but also raise concerns about sexual dysfunction.

 

Fear not, Peloton enthusiasts! By focusing on proper Peloton bike fitting, you can transform your rides into a pain-free and enjoyable experience. Here's a breakdown from a sports physical therapist's perspective:


Understanding Groin Numbness on a Peloton Bike: The Culprit = The Perineum and Pudendal Nerve


Saddle Pressure

The culprit behind groin numbness on a Peloton Bike during cycling is often pressure on the perineum, the area between your genitals and rectum. This pressure compresses the pudendal nerve, which runs through the perineum and plays a vital role in sexual function and sensation. That’s the technical answer as to why you’re having pain and numbness on your bike.  The basic reason is there is too much pressure, on the wrong areas of your groin, resulting from your bike not being properly adjusted. This causes groin numbness during a ride or after your ride.


The Three Key Adjustments for a Perfect Peloton to Avoid Groin Numbness

 

Peloton Bike Fitting

1. Seat Height:  Having your seat at the correct height is crucial. When you place your heel on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, your knee should have a slight bend (around 5-10 degrees). If your leg is straight, raise the seat. Conversely, a bent knee exceeding 10 degrees indicates a seat that's too high.  One or the other can lead to injury and cause changes in your sexual performance if you don’t address the problem. Being able to measure the angle of your knee is hard to do on your own so the best solution is to have someone observe you on your bike. I help a lot of athletes get safe and riding their Peloton bike properly with a virtually or in person Peloton bike fitting.  In my bike fittings, I check how the individual is moving to see if there are any underlying limitations in your body.  Then I see how the person is moving on the Peloton bike and check for numbness when cycling. I then assist with adjusting the Peloton bike to make sure you ride injury free.  Contact me for more information here.




Girl on Peloton Bike

2. Seat Fore/Aft Position:  Imagine a line drawn straight down from your kneecap when your pedal is at its bottom point. This line should ideally run through the center of the ball of your foot. A seat that's too far forward puts excessive pressure on your quads, while one that's too far back strains your hamstrings and can contribute to perineal discomfort. Again, this can be kind of hard to do on your own but in my Peloton Bike fittings, I make sure this is measured accurately because you want to keep your knees healthy.  Painful knees during or after your Peloton bike ride means your seat isn’t in the right spot and your putting too much strain on your joint.

Peloton Bike Saddle

3. Saddle Selection to Stop Groin Numbness:  The stock Peloton bike saddle may not be ideal for everyone. Consider a cutout saddle, which relieves pressure on your groin aka the perineum.  This is usually easier said than done.  If you go to your typical bike shop, you’ll see a variety of saddles and it gets daunting at times.  I have a lot of athletes who will purchase wide and cushioning bike saddles, but I highly discourage those types of saddles because they often do more harm then good.  Too much cushion creates a space for additional pressure on your groin and pudendal nerve.  Cutout saddles or ergo saddles are a more ideal option to choose.  I have a variety of saddles I show my athletes they can choose from in my virtual Peloton Bike fittings.  The right saddle is often based on your body anatomy and your riding style.

 



Beyond Adjustments: Additional Tips for Comfort

 

Peloton Bike Fitting

*Cycling Apparel:* One option you can choose from are padded cycling shorts. Opt for padded cycling shorts with high-quality chamois for optimal comfort and moisture management. But be careful here, this can also lead to similar issues with a cushion bike saddle.  Too much cushion can be a bad thing and you want to consider your riding style to match it to your bike shorts.


*Take Breaks:* Listen to your body! Pain and numbness is your body talking to you, telling you something is wrong.  It’s always a good idea to take mini-standing positions when riding your Peloton Bike.  Stand up on your pedals and cycle for a minute, avoid excessive motion of your Peloton bike when doing so, and stretch out the area on long rides. Doing this periodically during your ride will help to relieve pressure on your perineum.


*Strengthen Your Core:* A strong core helps maintain proper posture and reduces stress on your lower back and pelvic floor.  If you notice you move a lot on your Peloton bike, notice aches when you’re riding, or notice your hips rotate backwards on your saddle, those are all signs you need more core strength.  And not just planks and crunches kind of strength.  You need deep postural and endurance muscle strengthening.  Your postural muscles often get overlooked by personal trainers and are ignored or exercises done incorrectly.  Also, you can have strong abs, obliques, and a 6-pack washboard and still have weak postural musculature.  This is often a finding I see during my Peloton Bike Fittings, and I always like to address the weakness and get those muscles strong.  That helps to keep the pain away and gone for good!

 

When to Seek Professional Help


If you experience persistent groin numbness, even after proper bike fitting and adjustments, consult a physical therapist specializing in cycling. They can assess your form, recommend further adjustments, and provide targeted exercises to strengthen your core and pelvic floor muscles for optimal comfort and performance.


 

I perform in person and virtual bike fittings and can help you if you have any further questions.  All I need is for you to have some space clear around your bike so I can see how your moving on your bike, for you to have some space to do a quick movement screen to see how your body is moving, and I’ll need about 45 minutes of your time.  That’s it!

 

By following these tips and prioritizing proper bike fitting, you can turn your Peloton experience into a journey of health, enjoyment, and peak performance. Remember, a comfortable ride is a happy ride!


You Deserve the Best, Expect the Best,

Dr. Estrada is an Endurance Specialist at EPRSG and has over 15+ years of experience. Dr. Estrada is board certified by the ABPTS, a member of the APTA and TPTA. He has completed over 10+ half marathons, marathons, triathlons, century rides, and ultra events. His experience ranges from swimming, running, cycling, mountain biking, and many other sports. He has coached many athletes ranging in ages from high school to senior athletes in their 90's.









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