CYCLING: Proper form promotes peak performance on the trails |

CYCLING: Proper form promotes peak performance on the trails

Dr. Jon Blaha
Cycling Correspondent

A properly tuned and fitted bike is essential to any rider who wishes to tackle the trails and roads here on the Western Slope.

A seat that is too low often times puts too much stress on the knees, a stem that is too long put excessive strain on the lower back, neck and hands. A bike that will not shift properly forces a rider to ride in either too high or low of a gear, also putting excessive strain on the knees and hips. A rider knows a well-tuned and fitted bike oftentimes increases one’s enjoyment and also reduces the chance of injury while out on the trails. The same could be said for a well-tuned body.

Overuse injuries in any type of athletic event are far too common. The simplest and easiest approach is to take an ibuprofen before the ride and simply ignore that pain in your back or knees. This is the equivalent of putting a piece of duct tape on that tire that keeps leaking, or zip-tying your seat to the seat frame. A good and quick fix in a pinch, but it is nothing that will last in the long term.

How many rides do you have left before that meniscus tears in your knee or you herniate a disc in your back? The body only has a finite number of repetitions before the soft tissue gives out. Proper form can increase the amount of these repetitions while improper form only speeds up the process of degeneration. If you are experiencing pain in any activity, it is your body trying to tell you something is up and you should maybe stop the activity and re-evaluate what is going on.

Most injuries in any athletic event go back to the very basics of movement. A properly strengthened core and aligned pelvis will allow any athlete to stabilize his or her spine better. This, in turn, will allow the athlete to generate more power and reduce their chances of injury. Proper hip stability and good ankle range of motion will also help to take any excessive pressure off of the knees. The body functions best when every body part works in unison, free of restrictions and muscle imbalances.

In order to find and correct these imbalances, have a professional such as a chiropractor, physical therapist or orthopedist perform an examination so proper care can be started before a minor pain becomes a major injury.

Make sure that your body is as properly tuned as that $3,000 bike you have been riding all summer.

Dr. Blaha can be reached at Fruita Chiropractic & Massage at 970-639-9730 or visit

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