“The posture you live in is the posture you will ride in!”
The spine is designed with a series of gentle curves which help support the head, chest and shoulders and allow the body to stay upright with minimal muscle effort. Habitual poor posture can cause these curves to change, affecting the muscles and joints. These changes can contribute to pain in any area of the body and can significantly affect a rider’s position. The traditional ear-shoulder-hip-ankle riding posture is an example of the neutral posture around which all riding movements occur.
“S” Curve vs. “C” Curve:
Maintaining the curves of the spine in an “S” shape promotes healthy muscles and joints. Collapsing the spine into a single “C” curve (slouching) promotes tension in the muscles and joints of the back as well as shortening and weakening of the muscles in the front. The muscles and joints of the neck need to work much harder to hold the head up. The “C” shape also reduces air capacity and the ease of breathing.
Discovering, then practicing good postural alignment is the key to change. Proper alignment can be practiced at work, in the car and while riding or walking. Gentle and continuous muscle work is necessary for good posture. Staying active promotes good posture while fatigue promotes the “C” shape. Try changing positions every 15 minutes, using a roll behind your lower back, wearing supportive footwear and participating in activities that promote good posture such as yoga, pilates, or swimming. The classic ‘riding position’ is an example of neutral alignment and riding correctly is a great postural exercise!
Homework: Stand or sit tall with the back of the head stretching to the ceiling and the chin slightly tucked. Feel the collar bones stretch straight out to the side. Keep equal weight in the feet/sit bones. Lightly lift the lower stomach muscles and keep a small arch in the lower back. Breathe into the lower rib cage with relaxation.
See article in ‘Expert Advice’