Similar to a vast majority of Melbournians, cycling has become one of my favourite pastimes. Whether it’s on a fixie or a mountain bike, nothing beats the feeling of freedom exploring the city on two wheels. Just like any other sport, cycling places excessive demands on both the upper and lower limbs. A single ride can easily take up to two hours or more! It is important to maintain your fitness, flexibility, and strength, especially as you start clocking up those kilometers.
The demands of cycling on your body
One would be surprised at the different demands required from a rider at any given time. This includes both flexibility and strength components in the upper and lower limbs such as:
- Adequate wrist and shoulder range
- Flexibility through the mid back (thoracic spine) to maximise both shoulder movement and breathing capacity. This is particularly important in cycling, which is predominantly a cardiovascular-based activity
- Deep neck flexor strength and appropriate endurance of the shoulder stabilizer muscles to maintain an on-bike posture through longer rides
- Awareness and an ability to hold a good trunk position while delivering power through the hips
- Activation of the gluteal muscles to aid in knee tracking
- Hip flexibility
- Full ankle range and calf strength
Common cyclist injuries
A poor on-bike posture, incorrect bike set-up, and imbalances in strength can ultimately result in injuries. Common non-impact problems include:
– Neck pain
– Mid or lower back pain
– Wrist pain
– Achilles tendon injury
– Front knee pain
How can physiotherapy help?
The common issues described above can be treated or prevented with physiotherapy. A physiotherapist can assess your current movement patterns and on-bike posture. They will then determine any imbalances in your flexibility, strength, or endurance that may be contributing to your complaint or condition. Your physiotherapist can also recommend advice regarding modifications to your current bike set-up, including seat height or handlebar positioning. At PMPP, we appreciate that every individual body moves differently and we will strive to structure a tailored program specifically for you and your goals. This may include manual therapy, exercise rehabilitation, or a combination of both.
If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with us to make an appointment today. Whether you have developed one of these injuries or if you simply want to improve your performance times, we want nothing more than to keep you on the road! Safe riding everyone!