Asymmetries and Bike Performance

“…adapting your asymmetrical body to a symmetrical bike for hours on end causes unforgiving misalignment that can only be remedied off the bike.” Taylor Phinney

Why is our body asymmetrical? At the most basic level it comes down to anatomy.  The human body is not the same left to right. Most of us have one foot slightly larger than the other, but even more noticeable difference emerge when we look at the internal organs.  The heart is on the left side of our chest, the right lung has three lobes, the left has two and the liver is on the right. So we are born with some natural asymmetries, but then add in repetitive movement patterns (cycling) which can lead to problems.

Why does this matter? While asymmetries may not be causing pain they can be a precursor to overuse injuries and result in performance deficits.  When I look at a cyclist, I want to check for the basics of strength, range of motion (ROM), posture, but also movement patterns and symmetry. Let’s look at some tests that can start to reveal differences.

What did we find when doing some of these self-tests?  Did we notice differences in the ROM, strength, stability and also what just felt natural?  These difference can lead to faulty mechanics, abnormal stress to joints and decreased performance.  Asymmetry could be the culprit behind knee pain, saddle hot spots, neck pain or hand/foot numbness. Now what could this look like on the bike?

Keep in mind with all of this, asymmetry is normal and our body will always have tendencies and movement preferences.  Problems can start to arise when we get “stuck” in a pattern or if too much asymmetry which predisposes our bodies to injuries and performance deficits.  At Rebound Sports & Physical Therapy we offer both injury care and performance/preventive care to help you avoid ending up with these issues. Our physical therapists can also perform a cycling-specific consult (included with your race packet) to help you better understand your biomechanics and if imbalances need to be addressed.

Tori Royle PT, DPT
970-663-6142 ext 2