Case Study: How We Improve Your Cycling Performance

Case Study: How We Improve Your Cycling Performance

MEET YOUR CYCLIST, MURRAY

  • 53-year-old male 
  • Recreational and fitness cyclist
  • Works a desk job
  • Rides three to four times per week,  averaging ~110 km per week

Murray came in to see us for a bike fit as he got a new frame for his bike and wanted to make sure he was getting the most out of every ride.

BIKE ASSESSMENT RESULTS

Every bike assessment has two components: 

1. Assessing Murray’s general lower limb biomechanics 

2. Assessing Murray’s alignment, position and biomechanics on his bike including the shoulders, back, hands and arms

Lower Limb Assessment 

We found that Murray had:

• A leg length difference, with the left leg being longer than the right 

• Pronation and arch collapse in both feet, right worse than left 

• Poor single leg balance and squat 

• Right-sided hip and shoulder drop on stance 

• Tight hip flexors 

• Shoes (mountain bike cleats) currently positioned too proximally


Bike Alignment 

Assessment Murray’s bike assessment showed that:

• His handlebar width was equal to his shoulder width (420mm) 

• His right elbow and knee were sitting abducted 

• His right hip and shoulder were dropped 

• He had a tendency to addict his left hand back on the handlebar (raising his left shoulder) to compensate for his leg length difference 

• Excessive plantar flexion of both feet secondary to tight hamstrings and excess saddle height causing posterior chain tightness

TREATMENT

Murray’s treatment plan included both adjusting the way that he and his bike performed together, and addressing any discrepancies in his alignment and lower limb biomechanics. This involved:

 

• Repositioning the cleats to the bisection of Murray’s metatarsophalangeal joints 1 - 5 

• Correcting his limb length difference with a right-sided internal forefoot raise 3mm plus an external cleat spacer (3mm) 

• Moving Murray’s saddle down to 970mm and back to end range of saddle rails 

• Prescribing hip flexor, gluteal + soleus stretches (bent heel drop) 

• Training Murray’s right elbow to supinate 30-40 degrees 

• Advising Murray to start with shorter rides initially, warning that some lower back discomfort may occur with the increased demand on his left knee and core

REVIEW & RESULTS

Upon review 3 weeks later, Murray had adapted well to his new bike position and reported no ill-effects. He felt that he was sitting better upon his saddle, and had been practising the elbow cue we had discussed.
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The leg length had improved significantly, but there was still some evidence of right hip and shoulder drop, so we added a further 4mm external spacer. As cycling is a closed kinetic chain exercise, it is important to equate for the entire discrepancy, unlike the common practice of doing half the difference for walking.

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ADDITIONAL OPTIONS

Additional options for Murray can have included fitting him with Solestar carbon fibre cycling orthotics which would have improved his stability and power through the foot. However, due to not presenting with any pedal complaints, we didn’t pursue this any further.

Our expert team will get you out of pain and back to doing the things you love.