The best positions for cycling

03.07.2021 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

SUMMER CYCLING

Summer is the perfect opportunity to dust off your bike and think about turning that commute into an opportunity to get fitter or shed a few pounds!

Cycling – a low impact sport

Compared to many sports, cycling is one with a relatively low injury rate. Crashes and collisions apart, cycling is impact free – good for your joints and muscles. In addition, if you select the correct gear to match the terrain, it means that you can avoid overloading your muscles and joints, keeping the cranks spinning rather than pushing a big gear.
Also important is that because your feet are fixed in place, spinning the cranks requires very little coordination, which also reduces the risk of injury due to poor technique, which is very common while running. Still, despite all these advantages, cyclists can, and regularly do, suffer overuse injuries.

Fix a good riding position:

One of the main issues is the set up of the bike itself. Here are a few pointers as to how to best achieve a good riding position:

SADDLE HEIGHT

This should be positioned so that when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke and the ball of your foot is on the pedal, your knee should have a slight bend in it. If you want to get technical, saddle to pedal distance should be 109% of your inside leg measurement. Hips shouldn’t move sideways during crank rotation and you shouldn’t have to stretch at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Don’t be put off by feeling you have to come off the saddle to touch the floor.

SADDLE ANGLE

This should be in a horizontal position, parallel with the floor when viewed side on (but sometimes a very slight downwards tilt can be helpful for those who experience a lot of pressure in the perineum area. However, don’t do this just because it feels more comfortable, as this can cause lessen support and affect riding position).

POSITION OF THE SADDLE

With the pedals adjusted so that they are at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions, a vertical line dropped from the kneecap of the forward knee should pass through the axle of the pedal.

HANDLEBAR POSITION

This is where opinion varies a little. Racers want the handlebars low to lower wind resistance, climbers want the handlebars low so they don’t feel too high when the bike’s angled up. The rest of us want them higher than this. A good rule of thumb is that you don’t want to be leaning on the handlebars too much, only holding them. If it feels like your upper bodyweight is being supported by the handlebars, try them up a little. Not all bikes are adjustable enough at the front but a stem raise is a cheap efficient way of remedying this. A bit more height in traffic is safer anyway.
And if you haven’t bought your bike yet, put a bit of research into what frame/wheel size you need before you do.
Cycling is a great way to get fit and works well with core stability, however, if any injuries do niggle don’t push through and do get them checked out!

Osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic

Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).

For more information on our osteopathy services, click here.

Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling on 0207 353 5678 , email info@fleetstreetclinic.com or book an appointment online.

5 Tips To Achieve Your New Year Fitness Goal

16.04.2019 Category: Dietitian Author: Andrew Doody

So you’re back to work and the tree’s on its way back to the loft. Time to come through on all the New Year’s resolution bravado. Here are a few tips about how to do just that.

Create a plan

Decide what it is you’re wanting to achieve and tailor your program towards it. Do you want to lose weight? Get fitter? Tone up? All three? Don’t just choose the new fitness regime trend, think what you enjoy to do and go with that! You stand much more chance of continuing if you do. Identify times of day when you can exercise and which days you will do it. It’s much harder to stick to a regime that is just squeezed in when and if you have the time (not to mention inclination!)

Determine your readiness

Make sure you are mentally and physically ready to start, and more importantly ready to stick to, a regime. Check with your GP if you have any concerns about your health before you start. A good proportion of my new patients come from people who have caused injuries in the first few weeks, or even days sometimes, of starting a new regime. If you have any niggles, get them treated, and get advice on how to prevent them from recurring.

Be realistic

Set goals that are achievable and realistic. To lose a stone or be able to run 10k by Easter are realistic. To decide you are going to the gym every day before breakfast probably won’t last long. Fitness needs to be built gradually with a good base. Get advice on what exercise you need to do. Just running will help cardiovascular fitness somewhat, but needs to be part of a balanced all-around program if you want to be healthier generally. To maintain it, alone, running will also soon start to cause musculoskeletal problems.

Talk a friend into joining you

There will probably be no shortage of people thinking along the same lines as you. Teaming up hugely increases the chances of you both sticking to a program and makes it much more fun and less painful than trying alone. Even just planning together and talking about what you’re doing, (even if diaries don’t allow actually exercising together), is really encouraging.

Think long-term

Don’t look at this as a quick fix just to drop a few pounds. Take it easy and don’t rush. Tailor your plan around becoming more fit and healthy permanently. If you do it will help with so many other things, from energy levels to less aching joints or back, to stress relief and better sleep.

By Andrew Doody | Osteopath

Andrew is available for pre-exercise assessment, advice on exercise/regime planning, and diagnosis/treatment of outstanding or new issues, as well as advice on injury prevention. You can book an osteopathy appointment online