Let me be Your Guinea Pig
How strong is your gluteus medius muscles? Need your anatomy textbook to remind you what muscle that is? Well, let me refresh your memory...it is a one of the three gluteal muscles that is situated on the outer surface of the pelvis. It abducts the hip (moves the leg away from the body).
I have always wanted to have a biomechanics assessment. Weird you may think but with my history of musculoskeletal injury...I could fill this blog post!
Last year, my chiropractor told me of a new service at his clinic - Biomechanical Assessment. He encouraged me to consider making an appointment as to review my riding technique. I jumped at the chance to have another set of eyes review my cycling biomechanics, even though I've got many sets of eyes on me each week at class!
Brian, the biomechanical analyst, had me cycle (and chat - I couldn't resist) and he videotaped my technique. Can you see what's wrong in this video?
I had known going in that my gluteus medius had been a problem particularly on my left side. Muscular weakness! Not really thinking it through I hadn't realized that my weakness would be that clear on the video. And that it would show up with an internal rotation of my left femur at the hip joint. Knocking knees my friends. If you look carefully, it is mostly occurring on final phases of my pedal upstroke and transition into the down stroke. Who knew...well, maybe I should have as I yell and rave at cycle participants about keeping their knees facing forward!
Do you cue contraction of gluteus medius? Are your cycle participants knocking their knees?
It tends to be a problem especially for women. That is not really a surprise. With a wider pelvis, women are more prone to fall into this form. The Q angle is greater than men and thus forces the knee into a Genu valgum position. With weak gluteus medius muscles, research has shown that is position puts the knees at greater risk for injury and pain!
Now take a second look.
Improved? Yes! Did Brian have me doing something different with both my mind and body? Yes!
His recommendation was to bring my knees out such that they felt way too wide. I felt like I was cycling around a barrel but truly it was the right technique.
Lesson learned? In your next class, take a look at your cycle participants’ alignment. Can you provide them some cueing that will enforce proper riding technique?
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Workman's Cycle Drills & Skills
Enjoy some of my favorite cycle workout drills either in a cycle class or on your own bike at home!