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*When* to Bike Bit - Working out Imbalances

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*When* to Bike Bit - Working out Imbalances

Old 12-27-21, 11:11 AM
  #1  
Noonievut
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*When* to Bike Bit - Working out Imbalances

It would take too long to write down all the details here, and I don't want to bore you all, so I'll provide a summary of me and my bikes (fits) and then my current state and the question.

Bikes/Fitting
- I have a custom geometry road bike (14 years now) and it generally fits really well. I had a bike fit 2 years ago and after some minor adjustments (saddle more forward, handlebars down 5mm), the only one thing I feel like I need to address is reach, because on a long ride I get a sore neck / shoulders. But I feel very comfortable on the saddle and don't get many leg pains, other than achilles tendon which I mention below
- I've had about 5-7 'other' bikes over the last 10+ years, many of which were too big (looking back I realize this now)
- I have a new 'gravel' bike that is more road geometry (steeper ST/HT) than previous slacker bikes I've had but didn't like. Rides on this bike have been good so far (I'm not trying to solve a fit issue with this bike...more below)

Current State
- I had a bike fit 3 months ago and at the time it was pointed out to me that I have some imbalances that should be addressed first before fitting
- 5 weeks ago I had a spill on my road bike (all good now), during physio I mentioned to the PT these imbalances and history of fitting issues, as well as achilles tendonitis on my right side that I had over 15 years ago (and subsequent soreness from hiking, and occasionally during cycling). PT measure for leg length discrepancies and everything was in balance, but muscle tightness on right side (lower leg) was evident, and I also had a history of tightness in left glute and he also assessed both hip areas as being very weak

Next Steps
- PT has me doing a series of stretches after riding or long walks, and I've already noticed some improvement as muscles are generally looser (I wasn't stretching enough after efforts)
- I'm also doing some strengthening exercises, but he said this will take many months to improve as due to muscle memory I've been cycling around these imbalances for very long

I'm wondering if/when I should look at my bike fitting (road bike, and new gravel bike); a bike fitter I've spoken with said he would assess me on both bikes and take it from there, but I mentioned I was working through these issues...but I'm not sure if it makes sense to go for a fitting anytime soon?
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Old 12-27-21, 11:56 AM
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cyclezen
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
It would take too long to write down all the details here, and I don't want to bore you all, so I'll provide a summary of me and my bikes (fits) and then my current state and the question.

Bikes/Fitting
- I have a custom geometry road bike (14 years now) and it generally fits really well. I had a bike fit 2 years ago and after some minor adjustments (saddle more forward, handlebars down 5mm), the only one thing I feel like I need to address is reach, because on a long ride I get a sore neck / shoulders. But I feel very comfortable on the saddle and don't get many leg pains, other than achilles tendon which I mention below
- I've had about 5-7 'other' bikes over the last 10+ years, many of which were too big (looking back I realize this now)
- I have a new 'gravel' bike that is more road geometry (steeper ST/HT) than previous slacker bikes I've had but didn't like. Rides on this bike have been good so far (I'm not trying to solve a fit issue with this bike...more below)

Current State
- I had a bike fit 3 months ago and at the time it was pointed out to me that I have some imbalances that should be addressed first before fitting
- 5 weeks ago I had a spill on my road bike (all good now), during physio I mentioned to the PT these imbalances and history of fitting issues, as well as achilles tendonitis on my right side that I had over 15 years ago (and subsequent soreness from hiking, and occasionally during cycling). PT measure for leg length discrepancies and everything was in balance, but muscle tightness on right side (lower leg) was evident, and I also had a history of tightness in left glute and he also assessed both hip areas as being very weak

Next Steps
- PT has me doing a series of stretches after riding or long walks, and I've already noticed some improvement as muscles are generally looser (I wasn't stretching enough after efforts)
- I'm also doing some strengthening exercises, but he said this will take many months to improve as due to muscle memory I've been cycling around these imbalances for very long

I'm wondering if/when I should look at my bike fitting (road bike, and new gravel bike); a bike fitter I've spoken with said he would assess me on both bikes and take it from there, but I mentioned I was working through these issues...but I'm not sure if it makes sense to go for a fitting anytime soon?
You don;t give any body DIMS - and that's not necessary for your Q - but addressing what you note (bolded).
A constant re-fit process can hinder or even degrade your 'comfort'. As noted by your PT person, it takes time to overcome muscular imbalances (which might be tied to some structural issues, still unknown.).
Stay with the muscle work... maybe even add yoga (start with a beginner class, with preferably not too many young people... LOL!) Yoga adds muscle/structural range and also helps balance muscle tone/strength. real 'live' yoga, not online is what I recommend.
Apart from the PT work, which you are already addressing, going back to top of your OP, shoulder/neck discomfort may be partly due to tighness in lower back/gluts and also 'Riding Posture'. I recommend focusing on your arm position... If you ride with locked arms, stop that! LOL! Put a slight bend in your elbows, If you are riding with dropbars and mostly on the 'tops' or 'hoods', bend the elbows downward, bring them closer to the torso/core. Focus on 'dropping the shoulders (which will help bringing elbows inward to body core).
This takes away a large amount of neck and shoulder tightness, reduces shocks to those areas, and allows more neck flexibility to look forward, not down.
To aid this, if your stem is now in the 'downward' position (assuming its not a straight 0 angle stem), flip it upward. This will allow you some 'space' to make that bend without further forward torso lean. Will also reduce the reach every so slight and aid to getting the elbow bend - try to keep the same torso lean as before, just take up that space with elbow bend...
AS your flexibility and muscle balance improve, at some point flip the stem back down, and keep bending the elbows...
....don't screw with your 'fit'. if your saddle position is currently working, don't change that... one small, incremental change at a time... right now, maybe the stem flip (if you need it to be able to get elbow bend)... Otherwise keep working on the muscle/soft tissue issues.
Ride On
Yuri
Edit: When I mention, slight bend, it's more than just breaking the elbow lock, it means degrees of elbow bend, more rather than less... is the objective. same note to the elbow tuck inward.

Last edited by cyclezen; 12-27-21 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 12-27-21, 01:11 PM
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Iride01
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If the issue or issues are so bad that they are keeping you from cycling, then you probably ought to go to a fitter. Assuming of course that your DPT and doctors say you are in good enough shape to cycle.

I've never been to a fitter. I've never had fit issues that kept me from cycling (knock wood). But I've had issues that were annoying and over time, sometimes measured in years, I've worked them out. Still working on some. But if I did have a fit issue that kept me from enjoying my rides or staying off the bike, I'd get a fit.

So really it's just you have to decide when you've had enough of your own fit DIY.
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Old 12-27-21, 02:07 PM
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I'd say work on your physical issues. They sound rather like things I have encountered over the years. There's always something that needs work, so work it whatever it is, and keep riding your bike. When you ride, pay total attention to every part of your body. I like to do that on my rollers, no distractions like safety. I try to sense what every muscle is doing. I find it easier to focus on one leg at a time and try to figure out how to eliminate tiny issues of muscle misuse.

Your shoulders will do a lot better if you do 20 pushups every morning. Or 40, whatever you're good for. If it's under 20, bring it up. It's also very good practice to hang by your hands once a day, 2 reps of 1' works for me. The other thing is to straighten your lower back: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...discovery.html

For the Achilles, on the edge of a stair do a full calf raise, then lower your heels all the way down over a period of 20". Repeat 10 times.

My morning stretches are here: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...l#post15372967

For hip/glute strength, nothing works as well as full depth barbell squats (start with just the bar, 30 reps) and knee raises on the Roman chair.


Except don't swing your leg back like she's doing. That's cheating. Legs go straight up and down. And yes, I've been a gym member since 1979. That has really helped for getting the kinks out over the decades. I'm boosted and go to a gym where they wear masks.
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