Health Blog

Position Yourself for Success – BikeFit Tips

At the start of a new year, it’s common for people to set new goals or make new plans for the year ahead. Personally, I enjoy choosing new cycling challenges each year to train and prepare for. I do it because it’s fun, but I also do it to push myself, as training motivation and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Having an efficient position on the bike for reduced tissue fatigue over time is always one of my main goals. There are many factors that determine your ability to maintain a comfortable position on a bike. They include your level of fitness, your occupation, your current and past medical history, your bike and its parts. Your body parts interact with your bike parts, and vice versa — this applies to every part of your body: your feet, ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands. The points of contact on a bike include the foot-pedal interface, the saddle, and the two hands on the handlebars. They are all adjustable and modifiable. There are five DIFFERENT adjustments for the cleat-pedal interface alone. The saddle can be raised and lowered, angled up or down, moved forward and back, and the handlebars can be angled up or down, brought in closer, higher, lower, further- with a change of stem. And this is different than bike SIZE. Just because you might consider yourself large doesn’t automatically categorize you for a large sized bike that catches your eye at the bike shop.

Now that your bike has been adjusted to the optimal position for your body, the next step is to successfully prepare for your event by creating a proper training plan. Marathon runners don’t just start running 20 miles a month before their event. I often see cyclists who inadvertently become patients due to increasing their training loads and intensities prematurely, which can lead to tendonitis, muscle strains and joint overloads. These injuries require rest and interfere with the training process. If you plan on riding 75 miles with lots of hills, start researching the course profile for details 3-6 months before the event, so you can create a training and supplementary exercise plan, which will prepare you for your event in a fun and effective manner. You don’t want to wake up the morning of your event “hoping” you trained enough. Also be sure to share what you would like to accomplish with your Physical Therapist so that they can adjust your personal plan of care to help you reach your goals.

As a Physical Therapist and Certified BikeFit Pro and Instructor, I work with many cyclists to ensure that both the bicycle and their body are prepared for training and achieving their goal events. If you have a cycling event in mind, consider getting fit to discover what you can do to optimize your experience.
See you out on the road!

Dan Druckhammer, PT, COMT, USAC 1, CCI, Certified BikeFit Pro and Instructor
Physical Therapist
MTI Physical Therapy – Kirkland