Whether you are an avid cycler or you bicycle reacreationally; are you geared for success? With Ragbrai right around the corner, I feel it is important to address a few key items to be aware of.
It is always a good idea to make sure your bike is fitted to you. A simple seat adjustment can sometimes do wonders for your back and knees as well as allow for a more efficient cycling experience. Frame size is also important as this places your shoulders and back in a proper and comfortable place for the duration of your ride. With a proper fitting at your local cycling store, you can be reassured that your bike is working with you and not against you.
Other key points to be aware of. The activity of cycling is performed in the sagittal plane, meaning that most to all of your motions that take place are from front to back of your body. This can cause the muscles in the frontal and transverse planes to become lax or unused for a certain time during this aerobic activity. The gluteus medius and maximus are muscles that are, for the most part, under-worked as well as the hamstrings in some cases when cycling. While other muscles, like the quads and back extensor muscles, are constantly working. Incorporating a few strengthening and stretching exercises, when not on the bike, could help decrease any stiffness or pain you might notice. Performing exercises in the frontal plane when not on the bike; lateral steps and clams will help strengthen the hip and knee muscles. Adding a few shoulder exercises; shoulder extension, abduction and rows can decrease stiffness from the static motion of holding yourself upright. Stretching post cycling; a cobra yoga pose or holding a lateral lunge as a stretch can decrease muscle tightness that can occur after cycling. Performing a few sit to stands and pelvic tilts while riding, as well as engaging your core, can strengthen even more muscles during your ride that sometimes get neglected. Any and all of these added activities can help to decrease any chronic pain you may be experiencing, thus creating a more comfortable and enjoyable ride.
If you have questions about any of these strength or stretching techniques, or would like to set up a progressive routine, talk your Premier Therapy family to have them assist you.