Cycling Performance

THE UPSIDE OF CYCLING

Well…it’s cycling!! There are numerous benefits of cycling and we all have personal reasons for loving the sport. In addition to the obvious benefits of improved cardiovascular and strength benefits, cycling can also decrease stress levels, decrease body fat and improve metabolic function.

Common Linear Plane Deficits Among Cyclists

1. Loss of Normal Spinal Mechanics

2. Excessive Thoracic Spine Kyphosis

3. Decreased Length in Anterior Chain

4. Decreased Length in Anterior Chain

5. Adaptive Shortening of Hamstrings and Gastrocnemius Muscles (loss of terminal knee extension)

6. Altered Ankle / Foot Mechanics

7. Altered Wrist / Hand Mechancis

THE DOWNSIDE OF CYCLING

Well…over time, it creates a bio-mechanical nightmare. Posture and movement are based on patterns of muscle activation and deactivation. Cycling posture provides continuous feedback to the systems of the body altering their normal physiological and anatomical capabilities; ultimately producing adaptive changes in muscle length-tension, faulty joint mechanics and neuro-mobility deficits. Prolonged cycling posture can also create impairment of other systems including reduced respiratory efficiency, poor venous return, changes in the autonomic nervous system, and phrenic nerve excitability.

So, what does this mean clinically? Most cyclists present with similar postural patterns and adaptive changes that can present clinically as a plethora of diagnoses. A few of the most common presentations are knee pain, hip pain, nerve impingement and neck pain. In true “kinetic chain” form – it is necessary to evaluate the entire system including respiratory and neural contributions. As an example, medial or lateral knee pain is often a product of a pelvic rotation that produces poor femoral head mechanics that alter knee and foot alignment. In addition, neural and vascular systems could be altered by the congestion in the front of the pelvis/hip area.