A while back I got an email asking a very interesting question. This rider had noticed that there was a difference between the hunched back postures you see among the highest level pro riders and the posture I talk about trying to achieve in my Body Position Clinic blog post.
They were curious why we needed to have good posture on the bike if the pros didn’t need it. While I encourage you to check out the whole post to see why the pros are a terrible example for us to follow as amateurs (and if you aren’t paying your bills by riding your bike then you are an amateur), one of the key points I made was that I wasn’t sure that the pros wouldn’t do better if they did pay more attention to their posture.
And while a lot of your posture on the bike depends on your hips, your shoulder position is just as important.
When your shoulders are hunched up and/ or rounded forward they become far less stable, which…
– Makes it harder to stand up and pedal since you can’t support as much weight on your arms.
– Compromises your low back position which results in less leg strength and power.
– Makes it harder to get a full diaphragmatic breath which decreases cardio capacity.
– Increases the stress to the Rotator Cuff, Bicep Tendon and AC Joint, which can cause pain and long term damage to the shoulder.
In some of my videos I refer to keeping the shoulder “packed”, which basically means keeping it in a strong stable position as you move. You also need to learn how to apply this concept to the bike as well.
In this video I share some tips on how to keep your shoulders packed while seated and standing on the bike, giving you the insights you need to increase your performance through fixing bad habits you don’t even realize are holding you back on the bike.
As you can see in the video, being able to keep your shoulders packed in a variety of positions is important on the bike. This is one of those fuzzy areas where strength and mobility lead to the potential for more efficient movement and breathing, plus the ability to resist changes in the face of fatigue.
It isn’t “cardio training” but it can have a positive – or negative – effect on your cardio.
This means that your mobility and strength in that area are things you have to actively work to improve or maintain. If they start to go and you can’t keep your shoulders packed in then you will start to suffer one or more of the negative side effects I listed above.
Start working on your shoulder position both on and off the bike and you’ll find your ability to breathe and stay stable on the bike will improve a lot. Your upper body is often forgotten about when talking about performance on the trail and with this advice you can tap in to the other half of your body to help you have more fun on the bike.
BTW, while all of my programs are designed to help improve your shoulder mobility and strength, you still have a few days to get in on the special deal I have on the In-Season Training Bundle. For only $39 you get a complete 8 week program designed to help you improve your body position and posture as well as your strength and cardio.
This means you’ll see better efficiency as well as increased power and cardio, which is a powerful 1-2 punch. And all of that adds up to better performance without boring yourself to tears with hours and hours on a road bike or with grueling strength training workouts that leave you sore and tired.
If you have any questions or comments about this please leave a comment below. And please feel free to share this post with a fellow rider who could benefit from the info.
Until next time…