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As the popularity of cycling grows, we see the expectations around bike fit evolve.
The bike fitter is becoming more that just someone who determines cycling position but needs to be as much injury manager as bike fit specialist – and you will increasingly be called upon to understand the validity and reliability of metrics used in bike fit.
Traditional bike fit has relied on a set measures, often with a keen eye of the bike fitter, to determine best position on the bike. Some modern bike fit methodologies go as far as offering a full scan to determine individual body measurements, then used to recommend a ‘tailored’ cycling position. However, the human body is complex and the factors influencing comfort, performance and injury management are multi-faceted, and they cannot be addressed by body measurements (as specific as they may be) or position alone.
The interplay of factors to be considered are diverse and include extrinsic factors, often employed by bike fitters, such as bike setup, position on the bike, shoes etc. However, beyond this and often more importantly there are the intrinsic factors of the body itself; joint motion, muscle activation, kinetic chain, injury referral patterns, injury history and even psychological pathologies that result from chronic conditions and/or pain. All of which has to be overlaid with a holistic load management reasoning; an increasingly key component of assessment that goes beyond just managing fatigue, but needs to consider the influence on muscle catabolism (or preferably anabolism) and injury prevention and management.
For example, a cyclist presenting with shoulder pain would traditionally be assumed to have an over-reach issue, however changing position is not enough if XXXXXXXX does not support a cycling position, and comfort on the bike.
The good news, practitioners who are trained in pathology and analysis of human motion are in a unique position to offer a professional bike fit for cyclists seeking to improve performance or address pain. (Wardsworth & A Weinrauch).
Which is why a clinical reasoning process is critical to modern and effective bike fit, as it enables the bike fit specialist to consider the interplay of all factors when making their assessment and deliver a depth of result for the cyclist not achievable with measurements and position alone – whether you are a bike fit specialist, or a physiotherapist.
Which is why our Physio Bikefit methodology is different. On our courses we provide a solid knowledge base of current cycling/bike fit literature with a structured clinical reasoning process that enables you to collect the layered information you need to generate and test hypotheses and determine an optimal diagnosis for your client/patient, taking all causal factors into consideration.
Given that in one study 67% of cyclists continued to ride even when experiencing a high level of pain, it is clear there is a need for bike fit and injury management to exist within the same practitioner. Those that can embrace this evolution of bike fit and apply a clinical reasoning approach to deliver improved results have the capacity to differentiate and grow their client list and/or reputation as a specialist.
To read more of the current literature on cycling injury management and the role bike fit, click here.
Want to know more?
Join us at our Physio BikeFit Course Now ONLINE with a Live Workshops on 29 & 30 October 2021, or simply watch all the lectures and workshops online.