Sunday, October 22, 2006

Let's get deeper than muscle!

Boney facts! A little understanding goes a long ways. Did you know that if you have your effective body extension correct that you can produce more power to your pedal stroke, plus provide more protection for your spine. The angle of your spine in space makes a huge difference in your game. Basic Biomechanics: Spinal Elements: Cortical bone is the outer dense bone of the vertebral body. Within the cortical bone is a complex structure of cancellous bone, referred to as trabecular bone (image).

The bony vertebral bodies are the primary load-bearing structures of the spine. Bone is a two-phase composite material comprising mineral salts (making the bone hard) and a matrix of collagen and ground substance (giving the bone flexibility and resilience). Bone is an anisotropic material, exhibiting different mechanical properties when loaded in different directions. It is strongest and stiffest in compression. By having your saddle to your handlebars at the correct distance can greatly improve your ability to make more power.

It is true, bone fractures usually occur due to complex loading conditions, involving combinations of tension/compression, bending, shear or torsion. Like ligaments, bone exhibits some viscoelastic behavior and is stiffer, can sustain higher loads before failing, and stores more energy when loaded at higher rates. The key here is to place the hoods in the correct locations in space.

Bone remodels in response to the mechanical demands placed on it, which are affected by the external loads as well as the muscle loading. The spine/hip angles are key for the mechanical demands placed on them by hard efforts from the legs.

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