Keys to Getting More Aero on the Bike

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03/20/2003| 0 comments
by Tim Monaco

Keys to Getting More Aero on the Bike

Stretch to obtain a more aerodynamic position on the bike.

Over the years, there has been a lot written about optimizing your aerodynamic positioning.   Most riders know that maintaining a low and narrow profile will save them time and effort in the ongoing struggle with wind resistance. Anyone who has ridden in an aerodynamic position has likely experienced the discomfort and inherent problems with maintaining it.


There is always a compromise with comfort, power output, efficiency and aerodynamics. Understanding how your body can adapt to a more streamlined position will make a noticeable difference in your performance. There are a few common difficulties for riders trying to be aero that can be improved with specific exercises, activations and stretches.


Fitting your body to your bike and/or your bike to your body is an ongoing process.   Our bodies are constantly changing from any number of influences such as injuries, stress and aging.   We are all walking reflections of our personal history.   Things that you can do to reverse these negative body trends, I like to call body maintenance. Stretching, strengthening and massage are all well worth the time spent doing them. Consider that if you ignore body maintenance, you will likely exacerbate existing muscle imbalances and range of motion restrictions.


Once you have your bike fit and your aero setup done by someone with experience, it is then a matter of changing your body's limitations. As you improve your flexibility and strength, changes can be made to your bike setup to optimize your positioning.  


Whether you choose to ride a road frame, a steep angle time trial setup or anything in between, your body has similar challenges. Every rider's performance depends on their being able to generate and maintain power for a given time and minimizing wind resistance. Developing strong and well-coordinated spinal and pelvic muscles is the key to improvement.    


If you have poor core function, you lack a solid base of support to generate power from.   This results in having inefficiently pedaling form, with power loss and improper muscle recruitment.   This can also make you more susceptible to injury. What can you do to improve your core strength and stability? Below are some ideas to incorporate into your routine.  


First, you should begin with stretching the following muscles groups. They are areas that are commonly tight and in need of improved range of motion. This should be done before riding to loosen and slightly inhibit these overactive muscle groups:

  • Hamstrings - Place leg up on chair or stool and bend forward over straight leg. Isolate area by keeping back straight and bending from the hips.

  • Hips/Glutes - sit with legs crossed and bent 90 degrees at knee. Stretch by pulling knee toward body and by pushing knee away from body. Try different angles to find tight spots.

  • Lower Back - lying on back, gradually pull knees to chest using arms to increase the stretch. Bring knees to each side to find tight spots.

  • Upper Trapezius - In seated position, hold under chair with hand of side


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