July
14

Rider Q&A: More random wisdom from my emails…

Q: I have a distinctive lordosis with slightly kyphosis, but no major problems with it. I’m wondering if I should do straight legs sit-ups as I’m not able to get my lower back in full contact with the ground with straight legs (I can still push a flat hand under my lower back). I also read that sit-ups are not good in general for bad postures like mine because of pulling with head and shoulders forward. Do you have an alternative exercise? I found a website where the author proposes your Turkish get-ups (among other exercises) to address to lordosis.

A: The straight leg sit up, aka Get Up Sit Up, is not like a regular sit up and is not hard on the neck and shoulders. In fact, it is actually a pre-cursor exercise to the Turkish Get Up and builds the foundational core strength you need to complete the first part of the exercise. Just do as best you can and as you mobility and core strength get better you’ll be able to maintain better posture. My wife has pretty severe scoliosis and we use that exercise all the time and it works great.

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Q: So here is my question: how do I best incorporate the DB Combos training program into my current regimen of long rides,  hill rides, and intervals to best prepare me for the Leadville event?

A: It is tough because the real answer is that if you are truly tapped on time you have to cut something out of your training routine to make room for the strength stuff. You will get teh biggest impact on your riding from improving your weakest link and if you are like most riders then strength is one of those things.

I would suggest prioritizing your training and cut back a bit on the least important component right now to make room. Everything can not be most important so if you have trouble deciding what your priorities are then you need to pause and reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and exactly what you are trying to accomplish with your program.

You have to strength train, it will make you better rider and help you in the Leadville race. You just have to decide what you can cut back on to fit it in. Pretend that you were forced to cut out 4 hours of training each week to take care of a sick kid – what would you choose? That will be a good way to start the thought process.

Good luck with your training, hope this helps…

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Q: When I started this program I also switched over to platform pedals. I use to have pain in my lower back at the end of my rides which has completely disappeared thanks to the DB Combos program. One thing I have noticed is that now my hip flexors are my limiting factor when I climb instead of my lower back. Its like a dull pain which gets more intense the longer and harder I climb. I can usually push through it to the summit and the pain goes way on the descents.

Is there something I should be doing differently? Is this a strength problem or a bad form problem? Is this a common ailment for people riding platform pedals? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A: It doesn’t really have anything to do with the flats as much as the shifting of the stress from your low back to you legs thanks to your better core strength and leg drive. The hip flexors are probably tight and short and that is what you are feeling. Just stretch them out daily, or even twice a day. Definitely hit them after every ride and training session.

As your body re-learns how to move properly you’ll find your aches and pains will move around as new weak links present themselves. It is just part of the process. Hope this helps…

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Q: Hey James – quick question; I recently started foam rolling my lats, which I hadn’t been doing, and found serious knots and trigger points, especially about half way along. As you know, I have recurring shoulder problems. I know you often talk about clenching your “armpit” muscles to lock your shoulder blades in place, and I wonder if there could be a relationship here? Either way, I’m going to keep rolling me lats.

A: Yeah, definitely a correlation there. Your lats are “locked long” which is why you have trouble getting your shoulder blades back into good position and taking the strain off your shoulder capsule. Getting those trigger points out will help the lats return to their normal length and restore some function. Never rolled the lats myself until I did it at Boyle’s, now I do it every day.

Follow Up Q: What is “locked long”?

A: Muscles that are chronically lengthened get locked “long”, just like muscles that are chronically short get locked “short”. In the shoulder, the pecs get locked short and the rhomboids and lower traps get locked long. That is why you can not get your shoulder blades to pinch back and down enough to hold a pencil between them – the muscle tissue has knots and adhesions locking it in place. It was something Mike Boyle mentioned when I was at his place and it made a lot of sense as to why you need more than strengthening of the upper back.

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  1. Simon says:

    Hi James: I have some kyphosis, and when I video myself doing front squats, it seems like the weight is exaggerating my rounded back. I switched to Bulgarian split squats, but wonder if you have any thoughts on regular squatting with kyphosis, or on exercises to improve it?

    Reply • July 14 at 9:26 am
    • bikejames says:

      @ Simon – I use a heel lift with people who have trouble maintaining a neutral spine. If they can’t maintain it even with a heel lift then we don’t load and train it, we regress it further using the TRX for an assisted squat. Hip mobility is key there as well but the main thing is to not train bad movement, regress it and fix it.

      Reply • July 19 at 10:07 am

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