Written by ALP Cycles Coach Brianna Walle
One of the more common injury types amongst cyclists are shoulder-related. We spend countless hours bent over on the on the bike (in combination with desk-work) which could lead to “rolled shoulders”/ poor posture and eventually, injury.
Many factors contribute to shoulder issues: a poor bike fit, lack of core strength, hours working at a desk, incorrect handlebar/stem size, etc. The 1st goal is to locate the root issue contributing to your pain and try to resolve. This might mean bike modifications or taking more breaks to stand up from desk work. The 2nd goal is to keep up with shoulder-strength and chest-stretches/openers as part of your strength/stretching routine.
Typically, as cyclists, we have a strong, tight front-end ( Pectorals aka “pecs”) and weak, out-stretched back-end- shoulder and back muscles (specifically: Trapezius aka “Traps”, Deltoids, Rhomboideus Minor/Major aka “Rhomboids” and scapular stabilizing muscles to name a few. This is due to the nature of the bike position and being hunched over. In my own experience, I had kept up with other strength work but failed to focus on strengthen my shoulders and stretch my pecs. I also worked at a desk for many years, the combination ultimately contributed to poor posture. After seeking help from my Physical Therapist, I learned 9 key stretches and strengthening exercises that every cyclist should know. Since I’ve incorporated the exercises into my strength routine, my posture has improved and I’m feeling far less pain. These are easy to do on the road, at home or at the gym.