What muscles do cyclists primarily use?

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1 Stress & Injury The following information has been taken from freely available articles from British Cycling and other Cycling organisations. Sources are noted at the end of this document. Please note that these are guidelines only as advocated by the British Cycling Coaching and Education Department. If you need more specific advice, then please contact a qualified physician or physiotherapist. Disclaimer The information contained in this information pack is given in good faith and RPM ltd/ Milligan Charitable Bike Ride Committee uses all reasonable efforts to ensure that it is accurate. However, no liability is accepted by RPM LTD, Milligan Charitable Bike Ride or British Cycling or any other noted contributor for any actions taken by any person relying on or using any information in this pack.

2 What muscles do cyclists primarily use? Cycling primarily uses muscles groups in the lower limbs however the upper body also plays a significant role in supporting your body and should not be discounted. The key muscles groups are: Tibialis anterior, soleus and gastrocnemius Hamstrings Quadriceps Gluteals Erector Spinaeus Biceps Triceps Deltoids Latissimus dorsi Your abdominal muscles and core are also important in helping you maintain good posture and form. When fatigued, a weak core can lead to a decline in your posture/form which can cause injuries due to increased stress being put on other muscle groups.

3 Injury risks Cycling injuries often occur for the following reasons: Overuse of certain muscle groups / joints Poor cycling position / form Compensatory movements due to injury or fatigue Common types of cycling injury Knee Pain The knee is one of the most common sites for overuse injuries in cycling and can also be attributed to a poor cycling position.. Neck/Back Pain Cyclists most likely experience pain in the neck when they stay in one riding position for too long. Tight hamstrings and/or hip flexor muscles can also cause cyclists to round or arch the back, which causes the neck to hyperextend. Wrist/Forearm Pain or Numbness Cyclists should ride with their elbows slightly bent. When they hit bumps in the road, bent elbows will act as shock absorbers. This is also where changing hand positions will help reduce pain or numbness. Foot Numbness and Tingling Foot numbness and tingling are common complaints, and shoes that are too tight or narrow are often the cause. Bruising / breaks / fractures It goes without saying that falls and crashes can be a cause of injury to cyclists. This is best avoided through careful and diligent cycling. Ensure that you are wearing a helmet at all times when riding and take care when mounting and dismounting your bike. Injury Prevention To prevent cycling injuries on a long ride and during your training programme it is important to follow Build up your training programme towards the event and make sure it is suitable for your ability Ensure your bike fits you correctly, that your seat is aligned and your saddle is the proper height. For assistance with bike fitting you can ask for advice from cycling specialists (e.g. bike shops) and other experienced riders. You can also click this link for more information.

4 Warm up before you ride or perform other exercise to improve the elasticity of muscles and tendons, prepare them for action and optimise performance. Cool down following exercise through a gradual reduction in activity followed by stretching. This will help your body to recover quickly and prevent muscle soreness. Mobilise, stretch and strengthen key muscle groups. This can be achieved through regular stretching, core exercise (e.g. pilates), regular cardiovascular exercise, weight and strength training. Ensure you rest and recover any minor injuries such as sprains or strains you pick up effectively. Different injuries will require different treatment but many common injuries can be immediately treated through the PRICE method (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). If you are unsure about treatment and injuries persist or return then make sure you consult a doctor or physiotherapist. Wear appropriate clothing and cycling equipment designed for long rides as necessary. This will help minimise any soreness or discomfort. Maintaining Cycling Position Maintaining a proper cycling position is an important component in preventing injury along with the fit of your bike. The ball of your foot should be centred over the pedal axle.

5 Small feet and high cadence pedlars place the ball of your foot slightly behind centre. Set your saddle through the following steps: Sit on the saddle with the crank arm perpendicular to the ground and heel (shoes on) on the top of the pedal Your leg should be in the straight locked position Your saddle top surface should be parallel with the road surface Sit on your bike in your normal riding position with the cranks in the 3 and 9 o clock position. Your saddle is correctly positioned when your tibial tuberosity (the bump at the top of the shin bone) is 1cm behind the pedal axle. Check to ensure that your knee just clears your elbow when seated on your bike with the cranks in the 3/9 o clock position. To ensure good chest expansion and breathing your handlebars should be as wide as your shoulders. If the handlebars are too far away you will be very uncomfortable. Sit on your bike in your normal riding position and your arms should be at 90 degrees to your torso. Stretches Stretching is a vital part of injury prevention and you should aim to include stretching as part of your training programme and warm up/cool down routines. There are many different ways to stretch the key muscle groups and below are some links to videos of cycling specific stretching programmes from the Global Cycle Network which will help to show you some different exercises. How to Stretch for Cycling: Dynamic Stretches for Cycling: Sources: Global Cycling Network

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