We are all looking for that pain-free ride. It doesn’t matter if you ride Beach Rd, Kew Boulevard or just roll around the various parks and paths Melbourne has to offer. If you are in pain or you feel your body is holding you back, it’s frustrating and will impact your enjoyment on the bike. And no one wants to ride like this. Today we are going to delve into the key to pain-free rides!
We spend countless dollars on the best bike. The latest tech. Heck… if it’s not on Strava did you even ride? I’m here to tell you, that’s all-important ( well apart from Strava) , but unless you focus on WHY you are in pain. Or WHY your body is holding you back. You could have Cadel Evans’ bike. Your riding will still suffer. You will still have pain. And worse yet, it may lead to an injury and time off the bike! So if you’re looking for that pain-free ride. And how you can take your cycling to the next level. Here’s How!
Let me ask you a question. How often have you said, “I’m so tight I need to stretch my “INSERT YOUR TIGHT MUSCLE HERE”?.
Sadly you are not alone! So often, the rider we treat often complain of:
- Tight Hamstrings.
- Sore Quads,
- Tight Hip Flexors.
- Knee and Back pain.
- Shoulder pain and Stiffness
So how can we address these problems? Simple. By focusing on what is missing! 9 times out of 10 it’s Strength! YES, it’s that simple. By focusing on 3 big muscle groups, we can not only improve your riding but we can:
- Reduce the chance of injury
- Eliminate Knee, Hip, and Lower back pain
- Improve Range Your of motion
- Amplify your riding enjoyment.
The Answer To That Pain-Free Ride:
So which 4 muscle groups will give me this magical pain-free ride? Well, the first 3 are pretty clear-cut. Your Gluteals, Hamstring and Quadriceps. Yes, these 3 big hip and thigh muscles. They are our big powerhouse muscles. These crank the peddles. But it’s the next group that often gets neglected in our cycling population. Not to mention our everyday population.
But before we reveal our group, a brief thought. Have you ever stopped to consider how much time we spend sitting through the day?
Unfortunately, the way our lives are structured we are sitting for a considerable amount of time. We sit in our cars or the train to get to work. We sit at our desks for work. Sit through work meetings, zoom calls and presentations.
Some of us, sit down through lunch. We drive home. More sitting. And then at the end of the day, we are so tired, we sit on the couch. Sound familiar?
All this sitting is shortening our PSOAS Muscle. Yes, our 3rd Muscle group is one of our big hip flexors. It’s also a
muscle that is rarely thought about or given much notice!
Irritation, weakness, and tightness of this muscle have been linked to:
The Psoas Muscle:
The Psoas is a muscle located deep in your lower back. It attaches right onto all five of your lumbar vertebra ( your lower back) and then connects down onto the inside of your femur ( thigh bone). Your Psoas is a hip flexor. This means when we sit, our hips are flexed which shortens this muscle. This leads to it becoming stiff and tight. Over a prolonged period of time, this muscle becomes weakened and shortened.
So should this muscle be Stretched? Haven’t we been told that if something is stiff we should stretch it? Unfortunately, this is NOT going to solve your problem!! It may give you short-term relief. But to gain long-term results, and take your riding to the next level this muscle needs to be strengthened!
Unlocking Your Psoas Strength:
There is no doubt we all need to spend less time sitting. Opting for a sit-to-stand desk at work. Getting out for a walk where we can, will all help. But there is no doubt strengthening is by far the best option. This in combination with a good mobility program will all help take your riding to the next level.
Here is a simple yet basic exercise to start to strengthen your Hip flexors. Keep in mind your PSOAS is only 1 piece of the puzzle. We don’t want to neglect our other powerhouse muscles. You can’t go wrong getting strong!
If you are serious about taking your riding to the next level. These exercises NEED to be incorporated into your riding routine. Side note: Please never neglect the importance of ensuring the bike is set up for you. If it’s been a few years since your last fit, book one in today. You never
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there is no place for stretching. Nothing feels better than giving your Hamstrings, Gluteals, and Quads a good stretch after a long ride! But this is a quick 5 to 7 minutes, then it’s time for a coffee. Greater gains can be made by improving the over-strength of your muscles.
These exercises are at a beginner level. They should not cause any pain. If these do cause pain please seek advice from your health care practitioner. For those who want to level up their strength gain, reach out and we can put your hip flexors to the test!