Applying Functional Movement to a Bike Fit

In my recent blog post about the Value of a Bike Fit for Mountain Biking I had some great feedback from riders who had also found the traditional approach to bike fits lacking in real, long term solutions to the common problems riders seek them out – namely pain and performance. However, I also heard from some riders who were still confused about the exact role of a bike fit and why the way you move off of your bike needs to be addressed before “fitting” the way you move on the bike.

While I linked to it in the blog post I want to highlight this groundbreaking interview I did last year with Greg Choat, co-owner of  Las Vegas Sports Performance and is one of the top bike fit professionals in the world – yes, I said a bike fit guy! I ran into Greg at a Functional Movement Screen Lv. 2 seminar last year and found out that he actually shares my feelings on the subject. After hearing more about how he uses the FMS to enhance his bike fits I knew that I had to get him on the podcast to talk more about it.

In this interview we talk about how the FMS has changed how he views and uses bike fits, how our everyday lives affect the dysfunctions we bring to bike, how those dysfunctions affect how we perform on the bike and why the bike industry in general has missed the boat on applying functional movement to the bike in favor of marketing hype.

We also talk about pedaling technique and why strength training, especially the deadlift and swing, are essential to building a strong, efficient pedal stroke. Grip strength and neck pain come up as well – in short, we cover a lot of ground and this is a “must hear” podcast from one of the top cycling coaches in the industry.

Click Here to Download This Podcast Interview (right click and save)

-James Wilson-

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  1. Mike says:

    I just revisited the issue of bike fit a couple of weeks after running into an old friend who is in the business of training triathletes. He has a small training center in which he puts a lot of emphasis on bike fit – using the Retül system. Granted he is primarily a road bike guy, but he’s also a respectable MTB rider. He strongly disagreed with my switch to flat pedals, and a number of other ideas I got from you regarding bike fit – to the point where I was trying to figure out how to come up with the $300 to have him do a bike fit on me.

    Fortunately I remembered this podcast. I listened to it once again and it restored my sanity. Because of you, I know that what I’m doing is the right thing for me. I’m still trying to get a lot of things figured out with the kettlebell exercises and with applying those movements to the bike. The 10X rule definitely applies to me.

    I believe that I am riding a bike that fits, but the one thing I am never quite sure of is – saddle height. I’ve experimented with all kinds of advice for cross country riding. Some say to use the same setup as you would on a road bike, and others say to lower the saddle as much as an inch.

    You and Greg touched on it during the podcast, but I’m not sure what the take away was supposed to be. Greg made having the correct saddle height sound significant by stressing the importance of your hips being a stable platform during your pedal stroke, but I’m not really sure how to determine that. All I know is that when my saddle is too low my pedal stroke is quad dominant and not as efficient. When it is set as though I were on a road bike, my bike handling suffers. I just don’t know where I’m supposed to be.

    Can you shed some more light on this for me?

    Reply • April 10 at 11:22 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      I have to admit that I don’t know the exact answer to that question. However, I will go back to my points about seated pedaling not being what you want to be using as your go-to position when laying down power. Standing pedaling should be what you use for you hard pedaling efforts and seated pedaling should be what you use for easier efforts and to recover for your next hard effort.

      Because of this I personally will run my seatpost a bit lower than recommended because I hate to have my center of gravity – a.k.a. my butt – so high in the air and I feel unstable. However, since I only use seated pedaling for easier efforts and recovery I am not putting a lot of stress on my knees, even though they are technically not at the “right” extension.

      BTW, even with that lower seat height I still use a hip dominant pedal stroke because that has more to do with how you move in general than your seat height.

      So, my advice would be to find a position you find comfortable (which was Greg’s #1 rule bike fits) and work on your standing pedaling and hips and you won’t need to worry as much about your exact seat height.

      Reply • April 14 at 10:03 am
  2. daniel diaz says:

    That is what I`ve experimented when I set the seat in the ” RIGTH”position,I feel almost ready to fly over the handle bar.But when I get the seat lower,my right knee hurts….But ,problem is I suffered an stroke in the past,and my body`s rigth side has weaken considerably.For that reason I cant use flat pedal(constantly hitting the bike )But I understand your point of view on that matter.But any way,Im here….pedaling and hearing you.Thanks for everything you share w us.(sorry for the speech)….
    Daniel Diaz

    Reply • July 3 at 8:11 pm

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