At the 12 minute mark my right gluteal is burning! It’s talking to me and I am not hearing positive feedback! Alan asks me to lift my tempo but at the 15 minute mark I have to back off the power and concentrate on right stroke correction/efficiency to ease the muscular fatigue in my right buttock muscle.
It’s my first session at the new concept indoor cycling studio that use RealRyder® Bikes and it’s won me over straight away as it’s picked up my personal weak point on the bike. My right pedal stroke is compensatory and inefficient as I had a hip arthroscopy some 12 years ago and like a lot of MAMIL (middle age men in lycra) have left running and high impact sport in the past to ride full time to preserve my arthritic hip joint. Hence my chronically weak right gluteal (buttock) muscle.
As the session progresses, It soon becomes apparent to me that there is no where to hide on the multi dimensional (3D) swing axis of the bikes in this studio.
As a Sports Physiotherapist I try and rationalise rehabilitation, movement analysis and strength (muscle engagement) concepts through the science literature and I should not be surprised at how effective the 3D motion of the bike are vs a “fixed” 1D bike trainer or even a road bike. Ankle Rehabilitation utilises the “Star Excursion Balance Test” as it’s 3D challenge. (1) Hamstring muscle strain rehabilitation has known for a long while that 3D functional strength exercises (eg. dynamic lunges, single leg bridges, arabesque dips, etc) are superior to 1D Gym Machine strength (eg. hamstring curls) to prevent hamstring muscle re-strains. (2) It is now consensus in ACL Reconstruction Knee Surgery that 3D must be integrated into the post operative rehabilitation phase. (3)
Every day we work against gravity and it’s rarely straight line forces that we have to overcome. Even a simple task like walking has 3D forces challenging our pelvis and knee alignment which we respond with our stabilising muscles. Cycling is no different. Whist having a big engine room Quadricep muscle helps with pedal stroke power ultimately we have to engage, sequence and co-ordinate every muscle between our pedal and saddle and handle bars.
The 45 minute session passes quickly and in a pool of perspiration – I am already thinking of ways to improve my road riding utilising the 3D motion. Should we wrestle these bikes into submission or do we adjust our pedal stroke to “carres” the bike into complete stillness. I am already looking forward to my next session.
Written by Albert Alonso
1. Earl JE, Hertel J. Lower extremity EMG activity during the Star Excursion Balance Tests. J Sport Rehabil. 2001;10:93-104.
2. A comparison of 2 rehabilitation programs in the treatment of acute hamstring strains
MA Sherry, TM Best – Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2004
3. Neuromuscular Training Versus Strength Training During First 6 Months After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Randomized Clinical Trial May Arna Risberg Inger Holm Grethe Myklebust Lars Engebretsen Physical Therapy, Volume 87, Issue 6, 1 June 2007, Pages 737–750
– About the Author
Albert Alonso graduated from Sydney University in 1985 and pursued a Sports Physiotherapy career pathway, working with National League teams in the National Rugby League, National Basketball League, National Womens Basketball League and Australian Hockey Championships.
He brings to the Bondi Community the experience of 21 seasons of working with the NRL Canterbury Bulldogs (1988-2008), the final 9 years servicing the team full time. In this period he was also team Sports Physiotherapist for the NBL West Sydney Razorbacks, which were also owned by the Canterbury League Consortium, and he worked alongside coaches of the highest calibre in Steve Folkes and Gordon McLeod. Assisting each Club make the transition from part-time sports in the 80s & 90s to full time professional sports gives Albert the unique understanding of the athletic requirements from ‘The Weekend Warrior’ to ‘The Professional Athlete’.
Professional development has always been a priority, achieving his Masters in Sports Physiotherapy in 2002 and appointment as Honorary Research Associate of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Sydney University, including supervision of Honours Research projects with Dr Roger Adams culminating in research publication in peer review journals.