With Boris bikes becoming ever more popular as a way of commuting around London it has been brought to our attention at Posture Dynamics the importance of following some basic rules for the commute cyclist to help avoid injury.
The major muscles involved in road cycling include:
The muscles of the legs and hips; the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus muscles, and the lower leg, anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius and soleus.
The core muscles which are important for maintaining balance and power; the rectus abdominis, oblique’s (internal and external), hip flexors, and the spinal erectors.
The muscles of the arms and shoulders are important to maintain a support position on the bike when leaning forward; the deltoids, biceps and triceps, and the muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm.
A good strengthening and conditioning program for these muscles will help ensure success on the bike. Weaknesses, or imbalances, in any of these muscles can lead to injuries for the cyclist. Special attention must be paid to stretching the muscles after use to ensure flexibility in commonly over-used muscles.
Commute cyclists are susceptible to many overuse injuries. This means that cyclists must take precaution to avoid incorrect form and excessive wear on joints and muscles.
The list of common overuse injuries experienced by cyclists includes Plantar Fasciitis, Knee Bursitis, Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB), Patellar Tendonitis, Lower Back Pain, and Muscle Strains
Injury Prevention Strategies
Proper conditioning and safety measures are essential in injury prevention strategies for cyclists.
Wearing a helmet while riding is extremely important to prevent head injuries.
Keeping the bike in top riding condition and maintaining it on a regular schedule will also prevent accidents from occurring.
Learning proper cycling technique is important to prevent overuse injuries and those caused by improper form.
Proper cardiovascular conditioning will prevent fatigue and other overuse injuries.
Stronger muscles will be able to handle the stress of longer rides better than weaker ones.
Increasing flexibility in the muscles and joints will reduce the stress on these areas during training.
The Top 3 Cycling Tips from Posture Dynamics
1. Stretch after your cycle ride: Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.
Stretching is essential to overall conditioning and should be an integral part of any training routine. Due to the long period of time spent in the same position, stretching is very important to the cyclist, both pre- and post-training. Stretching can be a powerful rehabilitation tool, as well.
Below are 3 of the most beneficial stretches for cycling. Obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start.
Kneeling Quad Stretch: Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.
Single Heel-drop Achilles Stretch: Stand on a raised object or step and place the ball of one foot on the edge of the step. Bend your knee slightly and let your heel drop towards the ground
Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.
2. Adjust Your Seat Height: To adjust the seat height, wear your biking shoes and place your heels on the pedals. As you pedal backwards, your knees should fully extend in the down position. If your hips rock side to side the seat is too high. Now when you move your foot into the proper pedaling position, with the balls of your feet over the pedal, you’ll have a slight bend in your knees.
3. Seek Professional Help: If you are experiencing pain or stiffness that you are not sure why or what it is, then don’t assume it will go away with more exercise or rest. Seek professional help to understand and resolve the problem as soon as possible.
The Osteopaths at Posture Dynamics can assist with advice on fully adjusting your bike correctly, setting you a stretch routine as well as core stability exercises, and help with diagnosing and treating pain or injuries you have. Contact us today for help and advice on 0207 828 6888.