BODY WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION
Muscle tension on the upper body is a common experience for cyclists. A healthy dose of muscle tension is required for bike maneuvering and to maintain balance on the bicycle when pedaling. However when the tension becomes excessive, muscle soreness and pain will occur. How do we spot and detect these excessive tension before it’s too late?
A balanced body weight distribution across the bicycle will have neutral weight bearing pressure at the hands, buttocks and feet. Weight bearing at the contact points will be of acceptable degree without the feeling of being overbearing and difficult to uphold across your cycling journey.
Whenever imbalanced weight distribution occurs, most of the body weight will usually be directed towards either the front-end or the rear-end, causing the upper body muscle groups to be in a constant isometric muscle contraction similar to planking workout which does not contribute to propelling the bicycle, but rather depleting energy in the body at a faster rate with no apparent benefit in improving cycling performance.
SIGNS OF EXCESSIVE FRONTAL WEIGHT LOADING:
- Hands are gripped tightly on the brakehoods with a closed fist action and unable to loosen the grip even on a relaxed cycling pace.
- Shoulders gets stiffen and bunching up towards the neck, and repetitive effort to relax the shoulders are futile.
- Arms are locked straight and could not relaxingly maintain a bent angle at the elbow joints. Elbows suffer from pain when trying to maintain a bent angle.
COMMON CAUSES LEADING TO EXCESSIVE FRONTAL WEIGHT LOADING:
- Bad gear choices when pedaling.
- Palm is not supported well due to unsuitable handlebar width or curve profile.
- Brakehood tilt angle is too high or too low.
- Incorrect handlebar position in relative to saddle position.
SIGNS OF EXCESSIVE REARWARD WEIGHT LOADING:
- Spine arches with a sharp angle.
- Heavy tension and soreness at the abs or lower back muscles.
- Pain and numbness at the groin.
COMMON CAUSES LEADING TO EXCESSIVE REARWARD WEIGHT LOADING:
- Bad gear choices when pedaling.
- Praticing “sit-and-pedal” bad habit when cycling.
- Pelvis not supported in a stable manner due to unsuitable saddle shape and size.
- Incorrect saddle position in relative to pedaling motion.
WAYS TO A BETTER BODY WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION
When tackling issue of improper weight distribution in a bike fitting session, we have a systematic approach in observing and diagnosing the following factors:
- Technique and habit.
- Contact points position.
- Contact points ergonomic suitability.
All three factors above needs to be taken into account altogether. Solely looking into 1 or 2 of these factors alone is incomplete and often do not yield a satisfactory result, but rather will trigger a chain of never ending cycle of witch hunting , just like chasing a rabbit around the forest with discomfort appearing on other parts of the body whenever changes are being made to the bicycle.
If you realise that you have been suffering from the above symptoms after reading this article, now it’s time to get proper bike fitting done. A proper fit with correct guidance on technique will allow you to have a more enjoyable cycling experience and increases your performance by making your training more effective!
Little Rock BikeFit Studio
As the first bike fitter in Malaysia to be certified by BikeFit.com & VelogicFit system, as well as classically trained as electrical engineer, his pragmatic approach in getting the best possible comfort out of a bicycle has allowed many customers to cycle further, better, faster and stronger. Not believing in standardized fitments to suit all cyclists,
he constantly researches and revises on methods of new and old to ensure customers get the best performance from their rides.