Improving biomechanics for endurance and injury prevention
For cyclists who dedicate hundreds of hours to training and racing, posture exercise can be the key to improving endurance and reducing injury.
Johan Dorfling, an avid cyclist and Certified Posture Exercise Professional (CPEP) based in South Africa, says that committing to StrongPosture® exercise helps prevent common cycling injuries as well as optimizing the body’s biomechanics for overall improved efficiency and performance.
“There are many factors that contribute to the successfulness of a cyclist, especially balance, joint mobility, and breathing. Posture exercise improves these things to make the body more biomechanically efficient,” Dorfling says.
According to Dr. Steven Weiniger, creator the of StrongPosture® exercise protocols and CPEP program, “No matter how expensive or perfectly aligned the bicycle, a misaligned body will not perform as well and, over time, be susceptible to break down and injury.”
Dorfling agrees with Weiniger, stating, “Most bike setups do not cater to people’s biomechanical deficiencies. I’ve personally had basic setups done for me that have been extremely uncomfortable. I’ve also had a very specific bike setup done for me which was a little bit more comfortable, but still not great. Only when I started the CPEP course did all the pieces of the puzzle start coming together for me. Instead of fixing my symmetrical bicycle setup, I had to start fixing my asymmetrical posture. I can honestly say that it has made my riding a lot more pleasurable and has boosted my performance.”
After realizing his own body had imbalances, Dorfling became interested in posture work. He worked closely with his chiropractor to identify those imbalances and improve his symmetry. In his work as a personal trainer, he began to see how others’ asymmetries affected their performance, which led him to becoming a CPEP and helping his clients to correct their postural form and train more effectively.
“When your body is balanced, you don’t have to compensate or spend extra energy trying to correct your form. My clients have seen unbelievable results in their performance with optimizing postural biomechanics.”
Though Dorfling works with clients of all ages and physical fitness levels, he notes that posture exercise has been especially beneficial for his cycling clients.
“All cyclists should do posture exercise,” he says. “If your body has poor biomechanics – balance, breathing, and range of motion – it works so much harder to transfer energy into the bike. StrongPosture® exercises increase flexibility and range of motion in the lower back, shoulders, and hip flexors, all of which affect a cyclist’s aerodynamics. Posture exercise also improves breath efficiency to bolster endurance and keep the body energized for long rides.”
In addition to preparing and training cyclists with posture exercise, Dorfling discusses the efficacy of posture exercise on injury prevention and treatment.
“I experience cycling clients with a wide range of injuries, especially in the neck, hips, and shoulders. Tuning my clients into their best posture helps to keep them injury-free. If you have one weakness and misalignment, your body will pinpoint that, which leads to a chain reaction of injury. A simple shoulder injury on the bike translates down to the hips, creating even more misalignment and pain. Poor hip mobility and lower back flexibility will make you compensate by overstretching for your handlebars and overworking your knees. This, in turn, makes your shoulders protract and hyperextends your neck, creating an uncomfortable ride and poor posture and pain off of the bike. The biggest change I have seen in my clients doing posture exercises is that they have more shoulder and hip mobility, which is a huge benefit to cycling performance.”
Dorfling and Dr. Weiniger both agree that posture awareness and regular posture exercise is a must for everyone. In addition, working with a CPEP can help those focused on performance fine-tune their symmetry and train smooth, granular control for maximal power, endurance and performance.