How to measure inseam for indoor bikes and rowers

A startup guide for indoor cycling bike, recumbent bike, and rower adjustments

If you want to get the most out of your indoor fitness equipment, you need to make sure that your indoor cycle bike, recumbent bike, or rower is tailored to your individual leg position. Luckily, you can easily find measurements and make adjustments to get the most out of your fitness equipment.

What is “inseam?”

You may be familiar with the tailor definition of inseam, which, in pants, in the distance between the highest point of your inner thigh to the heel of your foot.

That definition changes for indoor fitness equipment. On a bike or rower, inseam determines your range of motion in relation to the pedal and seat position.

If you don’t have enough range on an indoor cycling bike, or are too tall for your seat position, you may slouch while you ride, which is bad for your back. If you’re too short for your seat position, you won’t help you maintain proper form, which can lead to a decline in performance and increase risk of injury, fatigue, and strain.

If the slide rail on a rowing machine is too short, it will cause you to lose range of motion in your rowing stroke and limit your performance.

So, how do you measure inseam on your fitness equipment?

Inseam measurement: Indoor Cycling Bike

Measure your inseam from the top of bike seat to the top of the bike pedal at its lowest position. Only measure the bike seat and pedal where they align in the center. Off-center measurements can result in inaccurate inseam readings.

When adjusting your seat height, aim for a slightly bent knee. You should aim for 25 to 35 degrees of knee flexion at the bottom of your pedal stroke. This will help you to avoid knee issues while riding while also increasing the power of your stroke.

Inseam measurement: Recumbent bike

Measuring the inseam for a recumbent bike varies slightly from an exercise or upright bike. Position the pedal that you will measure to the downward portion of the pedal stroke. Place your heel on one pedal in the downward position of the pedal stroke and adjust the bike seat until your leg is in a fully extended position. After you’ve made adjustments, measure your inseam from the center of the bike seat to the center of the pedal. This will give you the most comfortable position.

Inseam measurement: Rowing machine

Secure your feet on the foot plates and slide the seat back until your legs are fully extended. The distance between the middle of the seat and your heels is your inseam length for a rower. If you can’t fully extend your legs on a rower, then it is probably too short for you.

How to find inseam range on products

Most fitness equipment manufacturers, including Sunny Health & Fitness, include inseam ranges under the product specifications page.

Sunny Health & Fitness bikes, like all indoor cycle bikes, have a minimum and maximum range (compared to rowers, which typically only have a maximum range).

For example, this Sunny Health and Fitness bike has an inseam range between 29.5 inches and a maximum of 40 inches. Ideally, you want to hit the middle of the range for the best results. At 34 inches, you are right in the middle and will perfectly fit this bike!

On the other hand, this product page for a rowing machine, we mention inseam range next to the slide rail length. In this case, this slide rail can accommodate up to 45 inches.

Note: Slide rail length and inseam length are two different measurements. While the rail length includes the entire railing (for space and placement purposes), the inseam length is the actual useable distance for sliding on the rail.

Why is measuring your inseam important?

Inseam is an important factor to consider when purchasing your bike, recumbent bike, or rower. Making sure you fit comfortably on your equipment is going to help keep you performing longer and training harder!