Correct Bike Set Up to Prevent Cycling Injuries
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