Surviving Your Cycling Routine
July 25, 2018
Last month I shared some thoughts on the hazards of cycling. Beyond potholes, careless drivers, and bad weather, the issues with cycling are body wide. My MELT On Demand MELT for Cycling Hip Stability video was such a big hit, so, as promised, it’s time to focus on your upper body with my MELT for Cycling Neck Stability video.
In this video, I’ll share with you simple sequences to keep your neck and shoulders out of pain, as well as restore some of the upper back extension that’s lost in many distance cyclists.
Many of my cyclists complain about the sense of a knot living between one shoulder blade and their spine. “It’s like a little devil that makes me constantly adjust my body position while I’m at work,” says one cyclist. “It’s like a dull ache from my mid-back to my neck that almost gives me a headache,” says another.
What is that ache? Why does one side of the body seem to nag, but the other never does? Well, it would be amazing if the human body were really symmetrical. Alas, it’s not, but we can restore some stability and control so your Autopilot (those parts of your body trying to sustain a connection to your center of gravity and keep you upright) remains efficient on and off the bike.
Much of this issue is caused by some key muscles and fascial connections that stabilize the mid-back and the base of your skull. Some of these muscles help to elevate the scapula and they become overactive on one side simply from the posture you have to maintain during a long ride.
What’s intriguing is that people will take a lacrosse ball or some other round object and dig into that space between the shoulder blade and spine like they are going to dig out that little devil. Unfortunately, this attempt at self-exorcism often just causes more inflammation in the fascia, irritates the levator scapulae muscles, and adds a vicious cycle of pain to their cycling routine.
Some of the true culprits, however, are on the other side of the body. Muscles and fascia that attach to the sternum and collarbone, like your pectoral muscles, are often bound and shortened, causing strain in muscles on the back side of the body, like the rhomboids (between the shoulder blade and spine, and subscapularis (a key rotator cuff muscle). Knowing how to reduce some of the tension in the front of the body and then restore and reintegrate the timing of those over-lengthened and weak, shortened muscles on the back side is the better way to go.
So the MELT for Cycling Neck Stability video addresses the entire issue, reintegrating the timing of those upper back and shoulder muscles inhibited by the chronic flexion of the torso. We will also treat your hands and decompress your neck because heck, who couldn’t use a little neck relief? These two sequences are key to preventing compression and compensation.
This video will take you 20 minutes to complete. However, I think you’ll love the way your body feels so much, you’ll realize it’s not that much of a time commitment at all. Try this map a minimum of 2x a week for the next couple of weeks. Your next ride may just make you a believer!
Once you give this video a shot, let us know how it’s changed your life, because I know it will. Have fun on your next ride wherever the road may take you.