Is fitting a bike to a structurally misaligned, deviated individual helpful in any way??
How much more efficient (if at all) would an athlete be if they corrected postural imbalances that are present?
Our daily habits create muscular imbalances that pull us out of symmetrical alignment. For example, sitting down for extended periods of time creates tight hip flexors that subsequently tighten up the lumbar muscles in the back. Likewise, working on computers or dealing with items on a table in front of you will cause your shoulders to move forward, tightening up the chest, anterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi and upper trapezis muscles; this will result in a stiff neck and decreased range of motion.
Women who wear high heels throughout the day will have tight calves, not to mention those of you engaging in athletic activities such as running and cycling.
ALL of these things will lead to imbalances in the body if you don't take the appropriate preventative measures.
The most common cause for performance reduction in a triathlete is an injury of some sort. It is a given that each and every one of you reading this right now, NO EXCEPTIONS, has some area of structural weakness that could be improved upon. Most people can make vast improvements in multiple areas when it comes to postural alignment. We should all make it a priority to correct these imbalances; not only to improve our sports performance, but if nothing else for general health reasons and the ability to live long lives in COMFORT! Start addressing these problems now or they will simply worsen with age, perhaps leading to preventable and invasive medical/surgical interventions later in life.
During my career in both the health and fitness industry through to coaching endurance athletes, I have always placed a high priority on helping my clients to correct deviations in their body. Once we have these imbalances somewhat corrected, we then program the client to think “prevention” and NOT “correction’”!!
As I see the continued emergence of the bike fitting business in cycling and triathlon, I ask myself:
1) Are we fitting this bike to an individual who is out of alignment?
2) If so, will that give them more power? Keep them injury free? Make them more efficient with their movements as the industry suggests?
My answer is a resounding NO!!
It will correct one of the two issues (at least FOR NOW). What needs to happen first and foremost is a postural assessment of the individual to determine what their specific imbalances are and what is causing them discomfort. Only then must the BIKE be fitted to the INDIVIDUAL, as opposed to vice versa.
At this point, we must take the appropriate corrective measures to address the individual’s misalignment. After 6-8 weeks we will begin to see improvements in their movement patterns and postural alignment, at which point the bike fit should be REPEATED.
Chances are we will be making more changes to the bike after both fits, maybe more so after the second.
In order to truly get the most out of the power and endurance you work so hard to gain, your body MUST be optimally efficient in transferring the power it produces to the bike and onto the road. A suitable bike fit and postural alignment must go hand and hand when striving for this goal.
For those of you who don't care all that much about power and speed, this will keep you injury free and more comfortable during long rides as well. We're talking about your body here: you only have one! Take care of it!
To take this a step further, check out 3D Sports Analytics at
Dr. Joseph Zapalla performed this test on me in July.
See the video here: http://youtu.be/pnSYvtZSpqE
He has presented me the data from my test and has made it very clear to me where my inefficiencies lie. I now have a compiled list of exercises which I have started to perform in order to improve these weaknesses.
Over the years, I have come across ample individuals that have mastered one of these two areas (power and efficiency), but rarely both.
With the combined knowledge of SD Endurance Sports in the bike fitting field (including numerous corrective exercise certifications), the expertise of Dr. Zapalla and testing with 3D Sports Analytics, you have the opportunity to produce truly optimal and efficient power that will keep you winning and injury free for the road ahead.