CRANK IT OUT CYCLISTS: BETTER POSTURE MECHANICS
“Cadence: the number of revolutions of the crankset on a bike per minute”
Understanding the role of fascia in healthy movement, sport and postural distortion is of integral importance to athletes that spend a lot of time in their sport of choice. Today we explore cycling, as we near the date of the Vancouver to Whistler GranFondo!
As we know, the most common sports-related injuries primarily are overuse injuries, due to restrictions and repetitive load. As the name implies, an overuse injury results from wear and tear on the body, particularly on joints and fasical lines subjected to repeated activity.
Cyclists can experience overuse injuries because of the amount of time clocked on the bike, (this is especially the case with cyclists that use tri-bars). Possible causes, could include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. With your back bent low over the handlebars, you have to tilt your neck up to see ahead. After a long ride, the neck muscles may tighten up and go into spasm from this awkward position. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.
To understand the mechanics and the muscles of the upper extremity, can be divisible into several groups, corresponding with the different regions of the limb. These are known as the Deep Front Arm and the Deep Back Arm Fascial Lines:
- Muscles Connecting to the upper extremity to the Vertebral Column
- Muscles Connecting the upper extremity to the anterior and lateral thoracic walls
- Muscles of the shoulders, arms, forearm and hand
Primary muscles associated with the front and back arm lines are then divided up into 3 tracts each, however for purposes of cycling related muscle injuries and fascial breakdowns we will filter our focus towards the primary muscles cyclists experience pain referral or stiffness in.
This includes; the upper trapezius, rear deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, which sometimes results in shoulder impingement. The levator scapulae from improper cervical spine alignment and forward head carry. The pectorals major and minor; which increases rounding of the shoulders). Even stressing out as far as the thoracolumbar fascia and sacral fascia (opposite side of thoracolumbar fascia) due to the kyphotic positing on the bike.
Most of the time spent in corrective movement usually center around anterior extension and posterior stabilization, but positioning of the bike and how we hold our upper frame (shoulder and pectoral girdle) is of the utmost importance.
One great addition to any cyclists program – cycle coaching on and off the road. Taking it inside can have many benefits so that you can take out the external environment and focus solely on gaining feedback on how to correct your compensations, improve your leg turnover, posture and ergonomics on the bike. Then you can take the knowledge and apply it to your long endurance rides.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite spots – Cadence Cycling Studio on West 6th in Vancouver. Mike Porter, owner and Lululemon Ambassador knows the cycling realm. Cadence instructors are cyclists, health nuts and coaches and even though delightful in real life, on the bike they will drill into you the necessity of working hard, correcting your form and…well…cranking it out! Cadence is set in a boutique urban industrial style setting, where puddles of sweat can easily be mopped up, as it goes without saying each cyclist will be pushed to their limits and within their unique mechanics for better riding performance.
Next time you ride don’t forget to think about the impact on your muscles and fascia, always take time to stretch. Try these post ride:
Deep Arm Line & upper Mechanics:
- Cat Flow Series for Spinal extension and spinal articulation
- Arm Circles standing or supine on foam roller – (Chest, shoulders, scapular stabilization)
- Neck Stretching Series (through flexion, extension and rotation to release)
- Thread the Needle (rotation through the T-spine and back line)
- Kneeling Crescent Lunge -Psoas/Hip Flexors (Improves leg turnover and reduces hip impingement and femoral compression)
- Supine Hamstring Stretch with Band – Hamstrings/Calves (for more leg turnover on the backpedal stroke)
- Half or Full Pigeon Pose – Hips, SI Joint, Glutes (This leads to less hip rock and less knee rotation while pedaling)
VISIT CADENCE CYCLING STUDIO: http://cadencevancouver.com/