Body Fit at Bespoke Cycling
When you see some riders you have to wonder how they are able to
ride the way they do. Some ride along looking like the hunch back
of Notre Dame while others ride with their toes so pointed, they
look like they're auditioning for a role in Swan Lake.
While reading my undergrad, my favourite quote from cycling
based research was:
"The underlying principle of positioning a cyclist
on a bicycle is to remember that the bicycle is adjustable, and the
cyclist is adaptable." (Burke 1994).
This has formed the cornerstone of my fitting philosophy ever
since. The principles from this quote can be applied to many
If a rider's bike is incorrectly set up, the body will adapt to
try and interact with the contact points. Often this leads to the
body making compromises to make the position work (e.g. dropping
the heels to extend the knee when the saddle's too low, flexing the
spine to shorten the body on a bike that has too short a cockpit).
Additionally, everyday life can also cause the body to adapt in sub
optimal ways. For example, extended periods sitting can cause hip
flexors to become short and tight. While it is possible to ride
with these imbalances, the potential to produce power may be
reduced and the likelihood of injury is increased.
A bike fit can adjust the bike's contact points to work around
these adaptations but that is only 50% of the puzzle and simply
adjusting the bike to a rider's compromised biomechanics reinforces
these incorrect movement patterns that have been ingrained over
many thousands of pedal revolutions.
However, adjusting the bike set up to the "biomechanically
optimal position" does not mean that the rider's body will
instantly adapt and move in an optimal way. On the contrary, they
will still try and ride in the same posture as before. However,
through specific stretches and exercises the adaption process can
be sped up, increasing power and efficiency while reducing injury
This is where Bespoke's Body Fit sessions step
Body Fit is a program of tailored stretches and
exercises spread over 2-3 months designed to address these
imbalances and teach a more efficient way to propel a bike. It is
split into four parts:
1) Muscular Restrictions and Activation: This
session focuses on stretches and off bike exercises to release
muscular restrictions and activate chronically inhibited muscles to
fast track future sessions.
2) Pedalling Technique: This session teaches off
bike exercises and breaks the pedal stroke down to teach it a
quarter at a time. It focuses on activating the correct muscles at
the correct time before linking the quarters back into a complete
3) Posture and Core Activation: This session
combines on and off bike exercises to teach good riding posture and
4) Bringing It All Together: This session teaches
off bike exercises to combine lower and core stability together and
shows how to apply them on the bike.
Let's look at a case study: