Spring Brings Bike Season!
- hip and knee stretches for all cyclists
- core exercises for cyclists
March 20th may mark the first day of Spring but more importantly, (some may agree more than others) it marks the first day of the biking season. If you are a mountain biker, road biker or commuter, you should have already taken your bike into your local shop to get it tuned up. Keeping with that theme, you should be starting to think about how to tune yourself up in preparation for the additional time in the saddle.
A Physiotherapy assessment is a great idea to ensure that you have the prerequisite mobility and strength to have a successful season. A movement screen can highlight one’s deficiencies, that when multiplied by thousands of pedal revolutions can lead to chronic injuries. As well, the proper fit of bike, as seen through the eyes of a Physiotherapist, can keep your bones, muscles, and joints happy as you start to fatigue.
If you are looking for a few exercises to prepare or maintain the body, try these:
Half Kneeling Quadriceps Stretch
Whether you are in or out of the saddle, cycling is predominately completed while your hips are in flexion. Therefore, the majority of cyclists have shortened hip flexors and quadriceps as shown via the Thomas* or Modified Thomas Testing method. The Half Kneeling Quadricep Stretch is a great way to reverse this.
- Assume a half kneeling position with your front knee at 90 degrees and your back foot on a chair/bench. Support yourself on a foam roller or dowel if needed. Turn the stretch on by tucking your bum under your hips (making your bum small) and therefore posteriorly tilting your pelvis.
Valgus Biased Lunge
Knee pain is a common complaint of cyclists and it often is caused from deficiencies in the glutes that cause an improper tracking of the knee. It is essential to keep the knee tracking over your toes throughout your pedal stroke. The usual fault involves the knee falling inward or valgus throughout the downstroke. We can train to prevent this movement off the bike.
- Assume an lunge stance with both feet pointing straight forward at hip width. Set up tubing so that your front knee is pulled inward as you lunge down and up. Try to keep your kneecap aligned with your second toe and resist the inward pull by using your glutes.
When you are riding a bike, you are on an unstable surface. Therefore, your core is the axis of all movement and the foundation that you rely on producing power from. A stronger core = higher potential to produce power.
- Assume a plank position with shoulder directly over hands. Drive one knee slightly past 90 degrees while maintaining a flat low back and level hips. Alternate.
Ultimately, the best stretch, exercise or movement for you and your sport requires a Physiotherapy assessment but these exercises are a starting point and can provide variety to your current program.
* A simple assessment of hip and knee muscles with the leg hanging over the side of the table.
Written by Aaron Dobie