If you're a modern human, then you probably spend a lot of time sitting, hunched forward over a computer or steering wheel. As a cyclist, you spend your leisure time sitting, hunched over your handlebars. Prolonged sitting in one posture while avoiding diverse movement robs you of your movement skills and athleticism. Back, knee, hip, shoulder, and other pain may also result from restricted movement. Immobility leads to weakness and fragility. Who wants that?
Human beings move in three planes (tri-plane motion)
- Sagittal or front/back
- Frontal or side-to-side
- Transverse or rotation.
Cycling is sagittal-plane dominant with minimal frontal-plane or transverse-plane movement. Cycling requires very little hip or spine movement and the arms stay relatively fixed. So while cycling may place a high demand on the muscles and cardiovascular system, it doesn’t actually require you to move much. Why does this matter?
Ever heard of the “use-it-or-lose-it” principle? It describes what happens when a skill diminishes over time due to lack of use. It’s what happens when you learn a foreign language in high school, spend years not speaking it at all, then you try and speak it. The same thing happens in returning to a musical instrument or a sport you haven’t played in years. You’re rusty. The neuronal connections in your brain weaken and shrink. The same thing happens when you avoid movement and adopt one posture for long periods.
The good news is that you can restore healthy, full-range movement. Here are several mobility drills to help you maintain a diverse movement database and counteract cycling posture. See the linked videos for details.
Trunk & Shoulders
Hips & Legs
Ankles, Feet, & Toes
Do a few of these drills every day. You might do one or two throughout the day. You can also use these drills after a ride or before a gym workout. You don’t have to do them all at once. If you find that you’re especially restricted in one or more of these drills then spend more time working on that particular drill. You may feel an intense stretch on any given drill but don’t push so hard into the drill that you tense up. Never push into pain. If you experience pain then back off. You may need to seek help from a physical therapist, chiropractor, or other medical professional.