Musicians' Health Collective

Musicians' Health Collective: Supporting the health of musicians (and normal people)

For the Musician Cyclists

This drawing from Carson Ellis (book is Wildwood) gives an idea of how we round our spines when we bike, especially if we have a road bike.

This drawing from Carson Ellis (book is Wildwood) gives an idea of how we round our spines when we bike, especially if we have a road bike.

Biking can be an amazing form of transportation, and just a great way to move without running or walking.  But doing anything in excess can change the soft tissue properties of the body.  Because of the rounded spine position needed, cycling and spinning compound many of the problems we see from sitting too much, including:

1. Tucked pelvis (posterior pelvic tuck)

2. Rounded upper spine

3. Head forward (check out my long blog on that issue)

That doesn't mean that you need to quit biking, but that you should incorporate some movement practices that do the opposite of this position.  I'm not necessarily advocating for yoga, since that's a whole other can of worms, but I'm advocating for a mobility practice that:

1. Brings the spine into extension

2. Loosens the tight muscles in the back of the neck

3. Explores range of motion for the hips

4. Opens the posterior muscles of the legs ( tight hamstrings and calves can exacerbate the pelvic tuck in walking, sitting, standing)

5.  Deepens a student's awareness of the body in space, and remembering how to return to neutral rather than rounded and collapsed off the bike.

This guy on the right is what I'm talking about.  Not looking great, especially with that wacky head position.  But, you can see how it's easy to bring that posture back from the bike and into the practice room, car, desk, or wherever.

This guy on the right is what I'm talking about.  Not looking great, especially with that wacky head position.  But, you can see how it's easy to bring that posture back from the bike and into the practice room, car, desk, or wherever.

Here are some other things to consider: biking can also tighten the muscles of your upper back and shoulders, and long-term, can decrease your mobility which is frustrating for musicians.  So do some shoulder work, keep working on hip mobility, roll on some balls, and pick your counter-activity carefully.  Every movement pattern we adopt affects the form and function of our body, long term, so make sure you're bringing your tissues back to neutral as you train, move, or just exercise.  

This blog is awesome for exploring biking postural positions.

Stretch out those in those shoulders here!

I like this YTU® pose for hips, and this video on the bottom for breaks in between biking, playing, driving, etc.

 

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