Cycling is great way to improve your cardiovascular health and fitness as well as increase your leg strength. When starting out cycling for the first time or returning to cycling after an injury, it is important to ensure that your bike is set up correctly to prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Cycling on a bike which is not set up correctly or is an inappropriate size can lead to a range of musculoskeletal injuries which are common in cyclists including lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain and elbow pain.
Correct seat height is probably the most important variable when considering bike set up. If the seat is too low it can cause knee and hip pain as well as inefficient cycling as it will not allow for full contraction of the leg muscles. If the seat is too high it can cause lower back or pelvic pain from rocking in the seat due to overstretching the legs to try and reach the pedals. When sitting on your bike your knee should be slightly bent at about 20 degrees of knee flexion when at the bottom of the pedalling action.
When setting up the height of your handlebars you should be able to maintain a relatively neutral spine, which refers to a small phentermine 37.5 concave curve in lower back and small convex curve in upper back. Being in this neutral position with the spine will reduce the risk of lower and upper back pain. So for recreational cyclists who may prefer a more upright sitting position, a slightly higher handlebar height is more appropriate to maintain a neutral spine, where as competitive cyclists generally prefer a more crouched position, so a slightly lower handle bar height will allow them to maintain neutral spine.
Your handlebar position should also be considered so that you are not over-reaching for them when cycling. They should be in a position so that when you are cycling you can firstly maintain neutral spine as mentioned above but also have a small bend in your elbows and you are able to keep your shoulder blades down and relaxed. This will be important for preventing excessive shoulder and neck tension as well as elbow pain and discomfort when cycling.
This article provides just some brief guidelines to prevent cycling injuries. To get your bike set up or cycling posture professionally assessed, many local bike shops will be able to provide you with more specialised advice to prevent injuries and optimise your cycling performance when out on the bike.
Written By Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health
Sick and tired of doing the same old cardio workout and want to get the extra edge with your training? Here are some example High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts which you can try and apply to improve your regular workout, whether that be running, walking, cycling, swimming or boxing. The workouts below all use work intensities of 80% of maximum effort or heart rate (HR) and 60% of maximum effort or HR, with varying interval lengths and workout durations depending on fitness level from beginner to advanced.
If you have access to a heart rate monitor you can use age predicted maximum HR to gauge your exercise intensity. To calculate age predicted maximum HR, the easiest method is to use the age predicted method which is 220 beats per minute (BPM) – your age in years. For example if you are 35 years old, your age predicted maximum heart rate is 220 – 35 = 185BPM. So 80% of your max HR would be 185 x 0.85 = 157BPM.
Alternatively you can use a simple generic viagra in usa subjective perception of effort 0-10 scale, where 0 = complete rest and 10 = maximal exercise capacity. For more information on the benefits of HIIT, please refer to our previous blog post at this link:
When we first introduced HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) our specific aim was to make a real difference in our client’s cardiovascular fitness, not just another way to merely burn kilojoules. This involved extensive research into effective cardio training and the result was the following principles in our program:
We use three main types of energy systems for performance, aerobic, anaerobic and alactic. All are important for sport, especially most team sports such as football, netball, basketball
To make a change in fitness, we need to work at the “edge” to your aerobic, anaerobic and alactic thresholds
The heart is a muscle, like other muscles and needs to be overloaded in order to improve
We can work on improving the endurance of these systems or improving the threshold of these energy systems, both important targets for fitness
What Does This Mean For You ?
The result is a true improvement in your fitness, which means:
It is less effort to do the normal things in your life, such as going for walk, doing the groceries, going for a bike ride
Improvements in heart function and blood pressure
Improvements in sports performance, such as the ability to sprint, recover between sprints and speed of sprinting
What Happens During the HIIT Session?
During a session, your heart rate is always monitored, so that each interval is specific for you to work on your target heart rate, within your target energy zone. The Physiotherapist/Exercise Physiologist varies the speed, time and resistance of each interval so that you always work within your target heart rate, to always get the most effective cardio training. At MD Health we offer cycling and boxing HIIT classes.
Research Review: HIIT vs Steady State Exercise for Fat Loss
Traditionally exercise programs designed for fat loss have focussed on steady state exercise (SSE), meaning exercising at the same sub-maximal intensity, such as slow continuous jogging or cycling. However this form of exercise has been shown to result in poor reductions in fat mass. There is now growing evidence that high intensity interval training (HIIT) may have greater success in reducing body fat compared to steady state exercise. HIIT involves short bouts of high intensity exercise, with either complete rest or light intensity exercise in between high intensity efforts. A research study conducted by Sydney researchers in 2008 compared the effect of HIIT compared to SSE on body fat loss in young women.
Participants in this study were split into either a HIIT or SSE group, and completed this form of exercise 3 times per week for 15 weeks. The HIIT protocol in this study was using an 8:12 second work to rest ratio on a stationary cycle ergometer. HIIT subjects completed 20 minutes of 8:12 second intervals with 8 seconds of maximal effort intensity sprinting and 12 seconds of light recovery pedalling. The SSE group exercised at an intensity of 60% of their maximum effort for 40 minutes on a stationary bike ergometer. Both groups completed a 5 minute warm up and cool down after their respective exercise protocols. After the 15 week intervention subjects in the HIIT showed a significant decrease in both total body fat as well as abdominal fat, where SSE subjects failed to reduce either. Both HIIT and SSE significantly increased VO2 peak (aerobic fitness) despite the fact that the total volume of exercise was much lower in the HIIT group. Whilst there are some limitations to this study, the take home message should be that HIIT is a time efficient effective way of decreasing body fat and increasing fitness when compared to a large volume of steady state aerobic exercise.
Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. J., Freund, J., & Boutcher, S. H. (2008). The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International journal of obesity, 32(4), 684-691.
Link to article – http://www.biodensity.com/Research_files/The%20effects%20of%20high-intensity%20intermittent%20exercise%20training%20on%20fat%20loss%20and%20fasting%20insulin%20levels%20of%20young%20women.pdf
By Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates
The national physical activity guidelines for Australians recommends that adults should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week, with participation in more vigorous exercise on top of this for further improvements in health and fitness. But for many people, fitting this amount of exercise into their busy schedules proves to be too difficult of a task. In recent times more time efficient, high intensity forms of exercise such as spin bike classes and boxing have increased in popularity. These forms of exercise fall into the category of exercise called high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT has been shown to result in similar or even greater benefits for health and fitness than exercise for longer durations at lower intensity, making it a more time efficient and effective form of exercise for improving health and fitness.
HIIT incorporates short bursts of high intensity exercise periods, with rest or low intensity exercise periods in between; rather than just maintaining constant exercise intensity. These intervals can vary in terms of the work to rest valium 10 mg ratio depending on an individual’s fitness levels and goals. For example, a highly trained athlete may complete a 1:1 work to rest ratio of 30 seconds high intensity exercise followed by 30 seconds of low intensity exercise. A less fit individual starting out with HIIT may use a 1:4 work to rest ratio with 10 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 40 seconds of lower intensity exercise to allow for greater recovery between efforts. This means that HIIT can be specifically tailored to each individual’s health and fitness goals, rather than just a one size fits all approach.
Long duration steady state exercise is often prescribed for fat loss as the longer an individual exercises for, the greater percentage of energy from fat is utilised, where as more high intensity exercise uses a greater percentage of carbohydrates for energy. Although this is true, HIIT can actually utilise more fat for energy compared to steady state exercise, as the overall amount of energy used in high intensity exercise is much higher. Therefore by participating in specifically designed HIIT, you can achieve greater health and fitness results with only a short duration of exercise compared to long duration low intensity exercise, making it a highly economical form of exercise for people living increasingly busy lives.
By Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates