Cycling can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be!
What do you need to get the best out of your pedaling technique, and improve performance? Three things – loosen up, pay attention to your form, and fix your bike fit.
If you are overly tight in specific parts, then you will be obstructing muscle groups that are essential to optimal functioning. Muscles with a good range of motion are capable of applying more force than muscles that don’t. Tightness in the core/torso, hips, and legs restrict not only efficient pedaling and good aerodynamics but also impairs your ability to breathe efficiently, consequently impeding endurance.
Which parts of your body are the first to ache during long or hard rides, and are tight or niggly afterward? For me, my neck and shoulders would hurt after a couple of hours. I learned to keep my core engaged, or my lower back/lumbar spine became tweaky afterward. The root cause of discomfort is insufficient flexibility as well as poor posture. It makes sense therefore to work to improve flexibility in your shoulders, neck, hips and legs, the spine and the core. And yes, the core/torso needs to be both strong and flexible!
Good cycling posture.
The ability to maintain a good position needs reasonable core strength, the ability to extend your spine, and adequate flexibility. Core strength provides functional stability, on and off the bike. A weak core forces you to use your arms and shoulders to give steadiness on the bike while riding hard. You could say right posture equals core strength plus flexibility.
Good bike fit.
A lousy fit puts you into a state of constant discomfort and has you continually shifting position. A proper bike fit helps you maintain your good posture so that you can focus on your pedaling technique.