Friday, June 17, 2011

Pelvic Tilt on the bike!

Could not get my heart rate up on the bike today - not a good sign. Hope I'm not coming down with something. Had a day off yesterday too so it can't be due to tiredness.

Tried out a new app "SportyPal" that works with my Sony Xperia Arc and it was reliable on the first outing - but obviously has a long way to be developed yet. It seems a bit more professional than Endomondo but the caloric count was totally wrong.

Click on the white band on the right hand side and statistics slide out...

The only information going some way to describing the use of the core muscles that I have found is copied here from John Howard who won the 1981 Ironman, 14 USA national cycling championships and was a three-time Olympian...
Quote: "When the brake hoods are too low, one has to reach with the forearms in a straightened position, thus lifting the head, tilting the pelvic girdle back and locking up the core muscles. If the hoods are too high, the body is pushed too upright. When we achieve good hand and back positioning, the elbows flatten out naturally, and the head drops a couple of inches. With the proper angle of bent elbows we start to get good spinal lordotic and kyphotic curves. The pelvic girdle then tilts forward instead of back. This pelvic tilt is critical. When the butt is up, the back flattens. This allows us to access the all-important core group.

The core muscles are the forgotten movers in cycling. Most racers basically train only the gluteals, hamstrings and quadriceps. By isolating and strengthening the abdominals, obliques, erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles, cyclists can gain more power along with the ability to sustain it for a much longer period of time. (See Low Back, pt. 3, in the March, 2002 UltraCycling. Ordering back issues ) In climbing, we teach our athletes to keep their elbows bent, to flatten the back, and to slide back in the saddle. This produces a stronger, more efficient pedalling stroke. By strengthening the ancillary core muscles, cyclists delay the onset of lactic acid buildup in the primary muscles. This functional position starts a whole new series of events, including more efficient breathing and the consequent activation of the parasympathetic nervous system

Basically this describes the same process that I found allows me to access my core muscles. The bottom slides back on the saddle - flattening the back and allowing the pelvis to tilt down at the front - rocking forward on the seat bones perched on the back of the saddle. This aligns the lower back (more horizontal) so that it can rotate internally and the core muscles can be used dynamically. If the pelvis is tilted backwards and the lower back somewhat vertical then you can't get this rotation of the spine because the legs are going up and down not back and forwards. The only way you could get the lower back to rotate slightly when held vertical is if you were on a recumbent bicycle with the pedals ahead of you. 

Normally the core muscles are considered to only be used statically - that is - everything remains rock solid stationary and blocking as the legs use this block of concrete to work against. I think that this is a mistake.

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