Friday, October 03, 2008

Incorrect technique while in a position can hurt you!

Here is a little kinesiology info that might help those who are not aware of the issues that cause problems with the human machine.

No worker can hope to function efficiently unless the arrangement of the equipment he/she is required to use has been designed with a full consideration of anatomic and kinesiologic principles. Each job has its own peculiarities and can involve details that many might not be aware of! It is said that anyone can ride a bike, until they hit the hills or hard effort.

The levers of the human body (feet, legs, arms) are adapted for range, speed, and precision of movement, rather than for handling weight. It is not surprising that the incidence of back injuries on the bike are attributed to pulling or lifting with hard effort at at the wrong time! This kind of trauma may be due to acute injury, such as sustained by the industrial worker, or to a continual, even mild overstretching of the muscles and ligaments e.g. wrong size top tube, stem or type of handlebar and the location of their hoods or controls in space.

Trauman to the back may also result from what is called the "nut cracker" effect of compression forces from a too high stem or from lesions (a change in the body tissue) of soft tissues. If the hands are in the worng area in space, that changes your spine and hip angle. Go hard or lift wrong and you have a very good chance of getting hurt!

Almost every human will experience an injury of one form or another in their lives. Sure these injuries can vary in their cause, severity, duration, and location, and many have the potential to reduce your performance and enjoyment of cycling, or any other sport. With that, some knowledge of the causes certainly has the potential to increase your cycling performance.

This is a physical sport and it is important to take into consideration the physiological characteristic of the many types of sizes, shapes and forms. Even differences in women and men exist in body composition, calcium and iron metabolism, and stature.

It's pretty simple to place them in two groups: extrinsic (trauma) or intrinsic (overuse). Most of the injuries comes from poor bike-handling skills and common sense. We know, that the hound dog, when on trail, in the heat of the hunt, doesn't always use their common sense and will do anything to catch the rabbit.

There is a remarkable lack of data on the subject. From recreational to elite level, report having knee problems or back problems associated with their riding. It is not always the fit and if someone doesn't understand their skills can get hurt. Many want to have a sliver bullet for you and say their way is best, but the best way is for you to learn how to ride.

Injury prevention can best be viewed in three ways. 1) primary-chronic 2) secondary- after it has occurred 3) tertiary-an attempt to prevent the problem from recurring once it has been resolved. Unfortunately, few have time to take the measures that could accomplish this type of prevention. That is where it becomes very controversial and great arguments arise!

Compared with most other sports, cycling has a very low rate of injury per hour spent doing the activity. However, there is that one day with something fails! The smallest point of weakness or malalignment might seem insignificant, but once multiplied by 5,000, that smallest point of weakness can lead to dysfunction, impaired performance, even great pain. Even taking you off the bike or out for the season.

Even Tiger Woods had to leave the game for the season due to his body not being able to handle his physical activity!

These conditions are especially apt to occur in aging individuals, whose intervertebral discs and muscles have lost their tone from "too many hours at their desk" or (strength & elasticity). Would it not be super to have a whole day to just ride? Meaning it in a nice way, I think we all would not mind being a bike bum who devotes great time to the activity! But that is not the real world for most who have to make a living.

This is a mechanical disadvantage in the human machine. So general rules are difficult to apply, because the way burdens depends on their size, shape, and position in space and perhaps more important, the habits of the person on the bike.

Just take lifting in general off the bike. In dead lifting has about seven principles that are observed:
  1. The feet are flat on the floor, so the lifter doesn't balance on his toes like on a bike.
  2. The legs can't spread at a distance (golfer) to increase the stability of the body.
  3. The weight is kept as close to the lifter as is convenient e.g. race car steering wheel.
  4. The spine is best kept as straight as possible to reduce the stresses on the muscles of the spinal column.
  5. The actual lifting is done by the largest & strongest muscles which can be utilized for the purpose - usually the extensors of the knees & hips. Not by pulling upward with the arms!
  6. The lifter faces the direction in which he intends to move e.g. steep uphill. Not looking back and then forcefully contracting or pulling upward on the handlebars, bad timing!
  7. When the lifter keeps his hands on the handlebars, they should not lift if the hips cannot be kept below the level of the torso.
Almost all forms of work are performed most efficiently when these principles are kept in mind!

Here is something that might make sense!

Take a person who wants to use the wringer on a mop bucket, for example, the worker will profit by facing in the direction in which the wringer handle moves so that the weight of the body can be applied on the downstroke and the strength of the legs employed on the upstroke.

At the other extreme, having bad technique (lifting) or pulling on the handlebars as you are cantilevering over the top tube can cause a "hanging from the ligaments", perhaps responsible for many back strains!

Even with the correct bike fit, you still need to learn what is the most efficient methods!

Using a shovel or canoe takes a lot more skill than you know!
The same holds true for cycling!

Now plug that into your bike game to better avoid limiting the performance of the machine by human failure. This holds true regardless of the physical type best suited to the work.

Now think of the preferred speed of movement that clashes with that imposed on him by the work may find that he is subjected to stresses that render him both inefficient and unhappy!

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