HIP MOBILITY TO IMPROVE PEDAL STROKE
By Sebastian Rebollo
Master in physical Activity
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Maintaining a good bike fit position is the key to continue to have the ability to transfer all the power generated from the glutes in every pedal stroke. We must first considerer if our hip mobility and flexibility is as effective as our glute power, because that will directly compromise our range of motion in the upper part of the pedal stroke (when the hip its in complete flexion) and the ability to produce power as we desire.
In order to identify our hip mobility, we can do a very simple test as follows;
Lie on your back
Put your feet together with your toes pulled back towards your body
Using a towel or band, wrap it around the foot of the leg you are testing
Using the band, slowly pull that foot as high as you can. Keep both the leg you are moving and the down leg straight. Keep the down leg and your back on the floor (don’t arch). If either come off of the floor, stop the movement at that point.
Getting the up leg to 90 degrees is the ideal hip mobility. Test both sides
Now we know if we have any problems in our hip mobility. It is time to make actions to correct any deficit. We need to do some off the bike exercises that will focus on mobility, flexibility and stabilization of our hips and core. One type of training that will help is myofascial release using a foam roller. We need to incorporate this type of routine in our warm ups prior to riding or strength training. Myofascial release will help to reduce tightness and help to improve range of motion without over lengthening or weakening the muscle. In other words we have much to win and nothing to lose.
The recommended exercises to start our myofascial release will be the following.
1.- ITB - Iliotibial Band - This band runs from the hip to the knee and is a primary stabilizer that is stressed heavily during cycling.
2.- Hip Flexors & Quadriceps - The front of the thigh just below the hip bone.
Using these exercises with 10 to 15 repetitions for each limb will be a good start. It's important to use full range of motion across each muscle that we want to activate.
To increase our hip flexibility here I will recommend some really good exercises to start with. These exercises are going to be executed after training or competition because we want to increase our range of motion with passive stretches, and help the muscle to recover after a hard workout.
1.- Low Lounge
2.- Butterfly Stretch
3.- Spiderman Lunge with reach
4.- Adductor Rockbacks
5.- Pigeon Pose
6.- Eye of the Needle Pose
Hold for 10 - 15 seconds on each limb always using full range of motion. Perform 2 - 3 sets in each exercise.
There is always room for improvement, and we must identify which are our weaknesses and how to correct them. I hope this article can help you to always be a better athlete, and avoid injuries to prolong your sports career.
Disclaimer: No training program can or will protect you from injury. All athletic sports carry with them an element of danger. In the case of a fall, collision or other accident, you may be injured or killed, regardless of the type of athletic training you may have participated in. A training program itself could even result in an injury in certain situations. The only way to certainly avoid being injured while training or participating in a sporting activity, is to not participate in any sports or training activity.