The Value Of Good Bike Posture June 03, 2020 19:50 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. The Need For A Quality Bike Fit Almost all triathletes embrace the need for a quality bike fit. Unfortunately, the way the industry and athlete landscape has evolved, this typically means a couple of hours in a bike shop or fitting studio, after which the athlete is sent on their way to go train and race. Review any field of riders on race day, and it looks like 90% of them are in dire need of a proper fit. If we trim out the newer athletes, who truly haven't been exposed to fitting, it is startling how bad much of the field looks on their bikes. Ironically, it isn't typically a fit they need, instead, they need an education (and maybe a new saddle!). For many, the 'points in space' are well within standard fitting protocol guidelines, but the athlete is unable to maintain the appropriate posture on the bike. This leads to a host of negative performance consequences that include: Increased metabolic cost at any given output Decreased ability to produce power A cascade of negative consequences for run performance mostly derived from unnecessary structural load due to poor posture Case Study: Biking Posture With Sarah Cameto This is a snapshot of a very common sequence of symptoms that apply to most riders. Bad Posture If you review the rider (Sarah) in our example, you can see a host of serious issues that will impede performance. She has poor posture on the bike, with her hands choked back on the aero bars, plenty of tension in the shoulders, a compressed diaphragm, and rotated hips (backward) on the seat. Collectively, she is: Compromising her breathing ability Creating fatigue-inducing tension through the upper body Seated in a biomechanical position that reduces power Now let's compare this bad posture with some great posture. Great Posture Here are some positive adjustments that I notice. A nice flat back A very supple upper body Lots of 'room' between hips and shoulders to allow proper breathing The optimal departure of the pelvis from the seat to allow optimal power production To get an in-depth analysis of these two postures, watch Matt Dixon break down the differences of good and bad posture So what's changed? Well, as it relates to bike fit, NOTHING! It is the same set-up, with no alterations at all. The only evolution is HOW she is sitting on the bike. Many of the problems actually stem from seat choice, and finding a seat that is right for YOU! Beyond that, there are a host of educational tools that will help you refine your pedaling, find the right set-up, and hone in on a sustainable posture that allows for both optimal bike splits and the opportunity for running well off the bike. Remember, a bike fit is not just about flash computers and gadgets, and it also isn't something that is finished when you walk out the door. It should be as much about education (a real understanding of the method) and coaching. How To Apply When we think about bike posture, the first step is to always ensure you have the right equipment choices, as well as the correct 'points in space' (or fit). That is the first step. Beyond this, it is all about an ongoing creation of positive habits that will ensure you always default to posture that maximizes power, comfort, and the ability to run off the bike. We like athletes to begin and end every single ride with great riding posture. This habit ensures that you optimize your riding potential and also finish the ride with the best opportunity to set up a positive run. As you likely already understand, running posture is every bit as important as the riding we discuss here. With this, here is a simple checklist that you can learn and integrate into the warm-up and finish of every ride. On a trainer? Great! After all, you have no external stimuli to distract you from great posture. Bike Posture Checklist Please refer to the pictures and video link for visual confirmation if you are confused. Fingers relaxed Wrists straight in both planes Elbows flexed Neck and shoulders relaxed In control of breathing and heart rate Sitting in the correct part of the saddle Recovering the foot through the bottom of the stroke Unweighting the retreating leg Relaxing the foot Notice how it begins at the hands goes through the body, and ends at the feet. Even if you miss a step or two, this is a great way to retain your suppleness. If you are feeling fatigued in intervals or a race, go through this checklist.