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?
Recently, I was thumbing through iTunes podcasts and stumbled upon a fantastic find - SpinTastics playlists by Jason Hammers. It is a well stocked list of podcasts full of single one hour mixes of spin songs. And the best part is that they are FREE to download!
I contacted Jason to hear his take on his 20+ playlists.
He told me that initially he made the playlists available to his clients and cycle participants particularly for those who missed a session and wanted to get their workout in on their own time. The idea grew and Jason started to share his playlists with other instructors who needed help finding good music. At which point, he decided to design a podcast and post them on iTunes.
Jason’s playlists are chalk full of your favourite songs and they are all from the original artists. Take some time to listen to each and build your class drills based on the sequence of the songs. Songs can range in beats per minute from fast (140 bpm) to slow (90 bpm) so apply drills appropriately!
Jason also told me that he is considering building spin profiles/drills and packaging with his playlists for a small fee. Keep an eye out on Jason’s website for when they become available.
To get your copies of SpinTastics, simply download iTunes to your computer (if you don’t already have it) and search “spintastics”. It should be the first item to pop up in Top Results.
As you can agree, music is essential to our classes and making a playlist can take a fair amount of time. Thanks to Jason we’ve got access to an extensive choice of playlist podcasts.
Kudos to Jason for designing great playlists!
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!