Look Ma, No Hands!

November 9, 2009 | by Dr. Jess

Many injuries in most sports come down to one culprit: a weak, inefficient,

poorly activated, and fatiguing core. Other than a poorly fitted bike, the core

is responsible for most symptoms in the upper body, spine, and neck while cycling.

Once the core fatigues (if it is ever activated at all) the cyclist may lean

too much of their weight on the handle bars causing shoulder, elbow, wrist,

or hand symptoms. Also, a deactivated core allows too much movement of the

spine and thus causing pain in the neck or back. It is also responsible for a

rocking motion of the pelvis creating knee, hip, or back pain.

A recommendation for those who may

have a weak core is to raise the handlebars

a bit to allow for a more upright

position until you become strong enough

and the core doesn’t fatigue before the

end of your ride. After you have worked

on increasing the strength and activation

of your trunk muscles, you will be able to

hold yourself in a more horizontal position

using your core and can then lower

the handle bars.

Exercise: No-Hand Cycling on Trainer

WARNING: Do not try this on the road

or on rollers. This exercise was designed

to be done on a trainer for safety reasons.

Who it’s for: All cyclists trying to increase

core strength and prevent injuries

Purpose: To increase core activation

and endurance during cycling

Proper bike fit, able to bike with perfect

alignment, posture, form and biomechanics on a trainer

How: Start cycling on your trainer with a low resistance and with perfect

form, alignment, posture and biomechanics. Your back should be in a neutral

position, elbows slightly bent and body in about 45 degrees towards horizontal.

When you have a good cadence going, remove your hands from the

handle bars and place them behind your back. You can start with a goal of

15 second intervals without losing form, posture, alignment, and biomechanics.

After a few