If you remember my previous post Improving your swim stroke outside of the pool, the logic behind working to improve your Mobility and ROM (Range of Motion) is that if a joint is able to function and move as it was intended to, you will:· Reduce the risk of injury· Improve the ability of the joint to transfer the forces generated by the muscles involved in the action.

This logic also applies to cycling (perhaps to a lesser degree), but Mobility and ROM throughout the body still have an important place in the training continuum.

Spending any amount of time in one position, whether it be sitting, lying or riding a bike, will have a profound impact on the individuals’ posture.

This translates into postural deviations that can have a pretty big impact on performance (both on and off the bike).

What are the main problem areas that arise from spending hour upon hour on the bike?

The following are the main issues associated with one group of muscles becoming Short and Tight and the opposing muscle group becoming Long and Over-Flexible.

1: Short and Tight upper Trapezius muscles (Back of the neck), lead to the shoulders being elevated up to toward the ears, and this in turn leads to increased tension and pain in the Cervical spine region (Neck).

1: Long and Over-Flexible muscles of the anterior (Front) of the neck as a result of getting stretched and weakened from looking up and ahead, and allowing the Trapezius muscles to become overactive at the back of the neck.

2: Short and Tight Pectoralis muscles (Chest muscles), leads to a rounding of the shoulders anteriorly, closing the chest and impacting on respiration, not to mention Mobility through the Thoracic spine.

2: Long and Over-Flexible Rhomboid and lower Trapezius muscles, allow the Pectoralis muscles to round the shoulders anteriorly (toward the front).

3: Short and Tight Hip Flexor muscles, from being in the cycling position for long periods, which keeps the Iliacus, Psoas and Rectus Femoris muscles in a shortened state (while seated anyways).

3: Long and Over-Flexible muscles of the Lumbar Spine (Lower Back), which can in turn lead to issues arising when we ask the body to be upright for an amount of time off the bike i.e. standing for long leads to pain in the lower back.

These are the a few of the more commonly found problem areas associated with cycling, and being better educated about how and why they arise, allows us to deal with them.
In my next post I will throw a few exercises and stretches out that will help you start to correct some of these issues, including some exercises and stretches

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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