Alterations in Cycling Mechanics Resulting From Core Fatigue

It’s not uncommon for me to encounter cyclists who have knee, hip, and lower back pain after hard efforts of riding. When trying to explain possible causes, the discussion usually leads to talking about core fitness/endurance. The core provides the stable foundation for the generation of power and controlling forces that travel through the body. When our core fatigues but the legs don’t, there is potential for tremendous forces to get generated that can irritate and injure the soft tissue and bony structures of the spine, hips, and knees. In particular, we’ll see more rotation in the lower back as we try to get assistance from the arms. Also, the knees start to move from side to side slightly more which can stress the tendons and cartilage of the knees. Last week I found a video posted that described some of the basic findings of what actually happens to a cyclist’s body mechanics when their core muscles fatigue while riding.  The main idea of this study was to scientifically describe what is happening when we watch a rider who is obviously tired and still pushing to give it his/her best effort.  Often we’ll hear commentators say phrases like “He’s all over the bike!”  Here’s one of the author’s, Dr. Mat Brick, describing how they performed the study Relationship between cycling mechanics and core fatigue.

Alterations in cycling mechanics resulting from core fatigue from Ron Heptinstall on Vimeo.

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