By Dr. Jon Sebby and Dr. Josh Akin
It takes more than just spending time on your bike to reach your cycling goals. It requires listening to your body and implementing successful strategies to keep your body injury free.
In you are feeling out of sorts or you are having a hard time coming back from a ride, you may have developed restrictions that are preventing you from efficiently riding. Many times, athletes equate poor performances with poor conditioning or training. To overcome the poor performances, athletes tend to increase their mileage and intensity. However, your performances and training volume are not always directly related. Often time athletes with good training habits develop overuse injuries because their imbalances and dysfunctions were not addressed.
Adhesions in the soft-tissues and restrictions within joints can predispose athletes to muscular imbalances that can lead to injury. When athletes are training at a high level, these imbalances become magnified. Over time the body reaches a point where it is no longer able to adapt to the stress.
A normal muscle and its fibers should be able to move independently of the other soft tissue structures surrounding it. For instance, when paint is left on a brush overnight all of the fibers tend to stick together. Soft tissue adhesions or fibrosis are essentially this, when muscle fibers stick to each other and other structures around it (other muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves etc.). Muscles cannot and will not function properly in this state and pain is one of the symptoms people may experience when enough build-up has accumulated. Fact is stretching will never release the scar tissue, which is several times stronger than normal tissue. Stretching and other types of non-operative treatment become successful only after the scar tissue is released with soft tissue treatments.
By using chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue treatments (Active Release Technique and Massage Therapy) and functional rehabilitation, chiropractors and practitioners are able to reduce the dysfunctions that diminish an athlete’s efficiency and performance.
Utilizing chiropractic adjustments we are able to help remove joint restrictions in the spine and extremities. Soft tissue treatments, such as Active Release Techniques and Massage Therapy, are effective at reducing adhesions with the muscles, ligaments and tendons, which improves the functioning of the musculoskeletal system. After joint restrictions and adhesions are reduced, we use specific rehabilitative exercises to strengthen weaknesses and to help balance asymmetries.
Functional strength exercises are utilized to focus on weak areas and to ensure that the work done with manipulation and soft-tissue treatment is as effective as possible and is maintained. The exercises outlined below are aimed to help stretch and strengthen some commonly tight and weak areas in cyclists.
By utilizing an effective training plan coupled with chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue treatment and a personalized functional exercise program, the end result is an optimization of overall functions. With this integrated strategy, cyclists will see immediate improvements in their performance, from their speed, efficiency, range and ease of motion, and even accuracy of movement.
Here are some exercises that help address some of the common trouble areas with cyclists:
Being hunched over in the saddle for hours on end can leave on sore and stiff. To help reverse the effects of a sustained riding posture, add the Cobra Pose to your routine. Lie face down and place your hands underneath your shoulders. Gently press up, keeping a slight bend in the elbows.
Foam Roller to the Adductors
The adductor group (groin muscles) function in cycling during the down stroke of the leg. These muscles can be overworked and
develop adhesions, especially if you are a sprinter or do a lot of time trials. Lay face down and position the foam roller parallel to your body. Then bring your leg out to the side with the knee bent and roll your inner thigh muscles (adductors).
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors are another group of muscles that work hard in cycling. The forward flexed posture and overuse can lead to tight hip flexors, which can cause problems off the bike. To stretch them, start by kneeling on one knee. Place the front foot about 12” in front of the back knee. Keeping your stomach and glutes tight, extend the hip of the down knee. Hold for 30 seconds and perform two sets on each side.
The glutes are underworked in cycling and with tight hip
flexors this combination can lead to low back pain. Lie on the floor, arms
at your sides, knees bent, and heels on the floor (1). Lift your hips with
knees, hips, and shoulders forming a straight line (2). Hold for 2 seconds,
then return to start. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.
For More Information
To learn more about how chiropractic care and soft tissue treatments can help keep you healthy on and off the bike SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.
Learn About the Authors, Dr. Jon Sebby | Dr. Josh Akin
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