Comfort, Balance, Power, Your Long Term health. Would it sound like an exaggeration if I said you can tick each of these boxes by optimizing your position on the bike?
Yes, a bike fitting should be everyone's first stop when setting up their Bike. But this doesn't solve all problems for most people.
Many of us spend upwards of 10 hours per week Cycling. In fact between commuting and recreational rides, it's not uncommon. The only places we'll spend more time, are in bed, in our cars, or at the Desk. And it's these last two that exacerbate the problem. Sitting. Yes, here comes another anti-sitting blog post!
Thanks to Sitting culture - most of us have weak and tight Hamstrings and Hip flexors. From a performance standpoint, this is "sub-optimal". From a postural standpoint, we're in "Epidemic of back Pain" territory.. Yikes!
The Problem for Cyclists -
We can't separate the effects of sitting and Bike position. The fact is, they're just too similar and all cyclists should be working to counter the postural effects of time in the saddle.
More, specifically shortened hamstrings cause a forward tilting of your pelvis (think about your dogs' posture when they're taking a poop). You can see above the effect this has on riding posture. And if you've just hopped on your bike for day 2 of a multi-dayride, you'll have an idea of how this feels!
Now the low back is forced to flex forwards (Kyphosis), just so we can get to the bars (let alone in to the drops). The shoulders are straining as a result, which causes upper back pain. To top it all off, this Kyphosis forces our neck to crane upwards just so we can look forwards. This isn't just bad look, it hurts and it's dangerous. Short term and long term.
The Solution - Hamstring Stretching has been prescribed for pretty much everyone, pretty much forever. Yet we still encounter this problem. We need the ability to move through end range of motion without needing leverage if we want to access that length in a day-to-day setting. So lets start getting strong in the positions we need.
Tight Cyclists Rejoice, and gel saddles lookout - you're about to become obsolete :)
If you're currently Injury-free and there's no reason not to, I recommend adding the Dumbbell seated Good morning to your Off-Bike routine asap (if you're not sure, get in touch and we'll figure out where you should start).
Not only will this help you get more comfortable on the bike, it'll free up your big Powerhouse Muscles to apply all the force they're capable of. Not to mention help you stay healthier on the bike, getting more miles, with fewer aches and pains.
As with all exercises, they're most powerful when applied in an intelligently planned program. If you're interested in more information on training for Bike, or general fitness... Hit that button below!