How a cyclist gets his groove back - NBC Sports

How a cyclist gets his groove back
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VAIL, CO - AUGUST 25: Craig Lewis of the USA riding for Team HTC-Highroad leaves the start for the individual time trial during stage three of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge on August 25, 2011 in Vail, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
November 17, 2011, 9:11 am

Cycling is such a unique sport in that our legs do most of the work by turning circles thousands of times while the rest of our body is essentially locked into a hunched-over position. It is this extreme position-held for extended periods of time-that can cause the body to fall out of balance. It's not something that you'd notice from one moment to the next; it's a change that happens so slowly that it becomes the new normal for you.

If you've ever had an injury, you'd probably link it back to your last fall or radical change you experienced. That's a great place to start, but you could have been setting yourself up for this injury all along. Obviously, if you only focused on your legs, you'd soon have some sort of back or neck issue as the whole body works together. Don't think that just because you use your lower body to pedal a bike that your back, shoulders and neck aren't playing a role.

I've been preaching the importance of core strengthening for a long time, and I am still a firm believer in forming a strong core. It is something that isn't thought of when riding, but a strong core really stabilizes your upper body. However, that is only one piece of the puzzle. You have to go even deeper than your core muscles to find the root of all issues.

Over the last month I have been working with Nancy Harrison at the Functional Physical Therapy office-located right outside of Denver, CO-to re-establish my body's equilibrium. We have been taking a very non-conventional approach to my therapy, and I have noticed some huge improvements. Even if I weren't battling back from my broken femur, the gains I have made in my short time with them would still be remarkable. I'm confident that every active person would benefit just the same.

We started by working on the very core of our bodies-the nervous system-unlocking impinged nerves and freeing them to allow the rest of the body's muscles to relax instead of being knotted up in a defensive mode.

Now we have moved on to re-aligning my bone structure, starting with my pelvis. The pelvis alignment is so obviously critical as I spend hours each day sitting on the bike, rotated on the saddle. This position eventually becomes my pelvis' new position and when I do get off of the bike, I am completely out of balance. Sure, I can walk and function like a normal person, but the misaligned pelvis pulls on my lower back and causes issues elsewhere.

Cyclists are notoriously known for bad posture and part of that can be contributed to the pelvis alignment. Opening up the pelvis not only allows me to hold the correct position on the bike, it gives me the freedom to adjust to changes when I am off of the bike.

Cycling is such a fluid sport, yet a lot of focus needs to be given to keeping that fluidity throughout the body. Luckily for me, it is only mid-November. There is still plenty of time to make these adjustments over the winter. These are just a few of my own issues, but I encourage you to take a look at yours and see how you can better your life.

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