Cycling Form: Getting Started on the Right Track

by Alison McIrvin
Cycling Form: Getting Started on the Right Track

If you are new to cycling, it’s important to get started with good form so to avoid bad habits that lead to injuries or chronic strain. If you have been cycling a while, now is the time to clean up your act and check your form.

Cycling puts extra strain on the back, shoulders, neck and arms. It is important to create good habits with your cycling form, right from the start, so you can keep in the saddle in comfort.

  • First and foremost, keep your hips rotated forward and don’t allow them to rock in the saddle.
  • No locked elbows. This can be an indicator of your bike stem too long, which can be fixed with a simple adjustment. Locked elbows will transfer that tension up your arms and shoulders and make for a very stiff day the next day.
  • Long torso! Pull your stomach in toward your low back as you lengthen your torso. At the same down, bring your shoulder blades down and chest lifted.
  • Keep your eye on our line. Look further down than the front of your wheel. While this may sound like a no-brainer, but keeping your sight of vision down the road not only helps you to watch out for potholes, debris, etc., but it keeps your back and shoulders in correct position, as well.
  • Shift in advance: Plan ahead before you hit the hill and anticipate an easier gear a bit before you really need it. This will result in smoother transitions and help your shift to occur during a single crank revolution and not lose momentum. When your shifts are smoother, your back and shoulders can stay in good position and your leg power will be more efficient
  • Keep your knees in good pedal line, not moving in or out at the top of the pedal stroke. Excessive movement like this is usually the result of a tight inner thigh or IT band as well as a weak glute. When you keep your range of motion in the legs in a clean line you will be more efficient and less prone to knee injuries.

If you have continued strain or stiffness, you may need a better fit on your bike. Sometimes just a seat stem adjustment will do the trick. Stop by your local bike shop and get some advice, it can make all the difference in your comfort during and after rides.

Additionally, good pre and post-ride stretching sessions will help alleviate stiffness and prevent injuries.

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