Pedalling: Name & Shame the Saddle

If you’re not a Sick 🙂 Pedaller, is your saddle the culprit?

Cycling is not an anatomical motion.  Cycling is entirely man-made.  So we need to be mindful of the possibility of biomechanics being horribly compromised, especially as we know the human frame is very adaptable.  You don’t need to look far to see how different work environments and sports activities inflict characteristic ‘body shapes’ on their owners. Pro cyclists are no exception with their leaning towards a banana-shaped body, with a forward head, rounded shoulders (sometimes even ‘humped’!) and tail-bone tucked under.  Not a great look if that’s not how you earn your living!

We are a skeleton first, then we’re all about muscle activity.  Without the bones, we’re jelly.  The muscles move the bones according to the start position of the bones (posture).   Bones get us poised, muscles get us busy.  When the bones are in the ‘right’ place, the muscles will react to move the joint through an

instantaneous axis of rotation;  this is a joint’s ‘happy place’

When the bones aren’t in the ‘right’ place, the muscles will react (because you’ve asked them to!) but the joint won’t/can’t rotate happily.  Additionally, if the bones aren’t poised for biomechanical excellence, the muscles can’t respond in kind.  Let’s prove it … (humour me – it’s not rocket science!)

  • Stand up and ‘mime’ a cycling position; now pretend you’re riding a bike with one leg.
  • Start with your ‘habitual ride position’.  What does it feel like?
  • Now imagine your butt cheeks are head-lights, and stick them on full-beam, and single-leg pedal again.  Does that feel different?
  • In the 1st position, is your pelvis tilted backwards and in the 2nd position the pelvis tilted forwards?
  • In the 1st position, is everything kinda ‘slumped’ and in the 2nd all’s kinda ‘strong’?
  • In the 1st position, is everything kinda ‘Pink Panther’ and in the 2nd it’s kinda ‘Donald Duck’?
  • In the 1st position, is your tummy button kinda ‘slack’ and in the 2nd position …

… it’s not, is it?

Now, go ride your bike, play with the position of your pelvis (bones) and see what happens to your power output (muscle activity).

The question is, once you’ve found your biomechanically excellent position of poised bones and busy muscles, generating

power to the pedal

will your saddle let you stay there …? 🙂


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