We bring you yet another expert series! And the first part of “Physiotherapist on Cycling” is all about posture. That’s because a wrong posture may cause many problems, and the other way around, a correct posture and its suitable variations may help us get rid of problems. Forget the well-known posture with the shoulder blades held close together, the protruded chest and the feet put right next to each other.
We’ll correct our posture starting with the feet. The foot is a very important part of our body, especially because of its structure and the function of the arches. The ideal stance is on 4 POINTS of the foot:
1. the point under the big toe joint
2. under the little toe joint
3. and 4. from both sides of the heel.
The weight needs to be spread equally on both feet and especially on the four points to prevent overstraining of the toe tendons or, the other way around, to prevent exerting excessive pressure on the heel. The toes should rest loosely on the surface.
Ankles, hips, and especially knees should be SLIGHTLY bent. If we straighten our joints too much, the whole weight of the body will rest on our bones, cartilages and ligaments, which can be damaged by such long-term overstraining, and their structures can even develop arthritic changes. A SLIGHT bend of the joints activates muscles and tendons, which then take over a great portion of the body weight, taking the load off the bones and cartilages and preventing their strain.
The pelvis needs to be in the neutral pelvis position, keeping the pubic bone and the opposite sacrum in a level plane. This can be done by bringing the pubic bone slightly towards the chest and the tailbone towards the heels. This tiny movement should be directed by the abdominal muscles, not by the gluteus.
The chest should be positioned directly above the pelvis. That’s because together they create the core, which is important for spine stabilization. The activity of the core is necessary for correct functioning of the whole body.
The correct position of the chest will also ensure normal curvature of the spine.
The shoulders should be spread broadly, as far apart as possible. The trapeziuses must be relaxed. The shoulder blades must not be pushed together, but sideward and down, towards the heels. An extremely important part of a correct posture is the position of the head.
The head is quite heavy, which often leads to fast fatigue of the muscles which are supposed to hold the head in the correct position. This may cause an incorrect position of the head. That is the beginning of a vicious circle of strained head and cervical muscles.
The position of the head can be corrected quite easily. It is important to focus on the feeling of trying to grow tall – pulling the crown of the head up from the spine. This easy movement will also make the chin move back slightly, towards the neck, just like moving a drawer.