Are things hurting after you have finished or are you in pain when cycling?
If you live and work in Bristol getting around on a bike is a ‘no-brainer’. For our patients who do, the most common problems are low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and knee pain. Now, everyone knows that bicycles come in multiple sizes and are rarely custom-fitted to your body. However, a comprehensive bike fitting will take into account your biomechanics and help you in reaching your peak performance. More importantly from our point of view, it’ll help to prevent injury and you won’t be in pain when cycling…
4 things that a bike fitting helps to achieve:
- It prevent injury – by establishing correct biomechanical posture that reduce stress on your body. This is especially important if you have recurring injuries and will reduce pain when cycling, and afterwards.
- It improves performance – by finding comfortable positioning that will allow you to exercise more effectively and build strength.
- It’ll help you master technique – by making sure all of you is working in sync for a more seamless ride.
- It’ll help you experience a more enjoyable ride – because you will be comfortable and will start feeling improvements, which will help motivate you.
6 top tips for a perfect bike fit
In biomechanical terms, small changes with your bike fit can make exponential beneficial changes. However, before going mad and changing everything, consult a professional to assess your overall movement capability. We like this lot at BW Cycling and here’s their web page, and this lot, Bike Science who are at the top of Whiteladies Rd. Here are the top 6 points we give to our cyclists who are looking to improve their cycling performance and posture:
- Maintain a neutral spine. This helps keep you from hyperextending your neck backwards to look upwards. Without proper trunk alignment or thoracic spine extension riders often experience hyperextension injuries in the head and neck without proper upper back mobility. Concentrate on this and it’ll reduce your pain when cycling.
- Keep a neutral pelvic alignment – don’t tilt your saddle downward. A downward tilted saddle may put unnecessary stress on your wrists. It may also stress your low-back and spinal muscles particularly if they are weak.
- Keep your elbows slightly bent and not fully extended. Having bent elbows helps to absorb shock through your arms and shoulders and reduce loading on your cervical spine.
- Make sure your handle bars are not too low, too high, too far or too close. Poor handlebar positioning causes stress on your spine as you work to sustain a proper position. It can also cause hand pain or numbness due to your grip.
- Find the right saddle and don’t raise it too high or too far back. Cyclists often change the angle of the saddle to be comfortable rather than actually assessing if you have the right saddle fit for your body type. Before changing the position of your saddle find the right saddle fit first. Whilst riding your knees should constantly maintain a flexed position under some contraction, which can put stress on your hamstrings. When a saddle is placed too high the pelvis is often tilted backwards creating a biomechanical shortening of these hamstrings. This can lead to muscle strains or even numbness and tingling in your legs during long rides.
- Wear proper shoes and padded gloves. During long rides cyclist often grip more tightly or apply more pressure with their feet whilst pedaling. Wearing the proper gear is just as important as your position on your bike in order to reduce stress and, more importantly let you enjoy your ride.
Our Sports Injury Therapists aren’t just great at helping you recover from your injury or surgery, but they should also become an essential part of your lifetime wellness and preventative care plan. They are great and will get to know you, your physical limitations and your goals. They will work with you over time as you improve and build strength.
Are you struggling and what’s hurting the most – and if it is how have you sorted it?