View Full Version : form

03-08-2004, 03:18 PM
Is there anybody out there who can give me some direction re: form on a road bike. I've been riding for 6 months. I occasionally find myself locking my elbows. Is it me or is there something to adjust?

03-10-2004, 11:10 AM
I have only been riding for a year but I know that your upper body should always be very relaxed. While your riding you should think about relaxing your neck and arms. Should be a fairly light grip on the handle bars while climbing, unless there is a need to hang on.

Also, important to think about your pedaling motion. Think about pushing and pulling and/or pedaling circles. Somebody posted a link about pedaling technique, not sure which category it is under.


03-10-2004, 03:36 PM
Thanks Kelly! I'll try it tomorrow.

03-11-2004, 08:07 AM

What Kelly says is definitely correct. However, if you are locking your elbows because you are too stretched out, you might need a shorter stem (horizontal or angled part of the stem) or to raise the vertical part up a bit. Your LBS can help you check your fit to the stem and see if your reach is correct.

If that's not a problem, your arms may just be getting tired as you ride, especially if you start off more bent and relaxed and end up with straight elbows towards the end of a ride. That's really common as riders get fatigued - to use your joints to support your weight (bad) rather than your muscles (good). I've found that weight training really helps with arm/shoulder endurance on rides. It doesn't have to be anything heavy-duty, just some dumbell work, or machines at the gym. Triceps and pectorals (shoulders) are the most important in helping support your upper body while you ride. Core strength (abs, lower back, torso) is also important so that you don't put too much weight on your arms. If your core is week, you sorta collapse forward and put too much weight on your upper body when riding.

Hope these ideas help some! Sometimes it's just a matter of reminding yourself not to lock elbows while riding, until it becomes second nature. But sometimes there is a "fix" that really is needed.


03-11-2004, 07:01 PM
Thanks Emily.

I think my prob is a combo of all the things you suggested.
I haven't been going to Pilates = weak core
Haven't climbed (rock) = weak arms

Thanks for the great advice!

03-12-2004, 05:55 AM
my hands ALWAYS hurt after a little while on the bike, and the only thing that i can figure is that i'm putting too much weight on them. i've been doing yoga for a couple years, so core strength shouldn't be a problem. recently i bought dumbbells and have beenworking on triceps/biceps/delts with a little five-pounder (i should probably get a heavier one :rolleyes: ). i'm on an 'extra small' bike, i'm told (i'm 5'1") but i still feel like my centre of gravity is too far out front. whether my shoulders/upper back are tense (which is my tendancy, i put my shoulders around my ears) or relaxed, so that i push everything down... i'm still 'uncomfortable'. my lbs guy said to come in, they'll help me figure out what can be corrected, but i'd like to in armed with knowledge. what do you guys think, is this due to bad form, being too stretched out or maybe both?

03-12-2004, 08:08 AM
Hi Spokes,

Not sure what your problem is but hopefully the LBS can help. It's hard to diagnose these things without seeing your position on the bike. I assume you're wearing nice padded (gel is best) gloves? That's a must if you're not already doing so.

If you're already wearing good gloves, then it probably is a bike fit/setup issue. Good luck and let us know what you find out!


03-12-2004, 09:02 AM
yes, gloves are a must!:p after about the first week or so of biking (last summer) i went, this is nuts! my hands were killing me. so i bought some gloves. it's not as bad as it was, but they still hurt. i'd assume that any discomfort in my upper body and sore hands would be gone by now, so yeah, i guess i'll have to assume it's a fit issue. i'll haul ol' bessie into the shop and see what they say. thanks, emily!

03-12-2004, 09:30 AM
When I feel like I'm tensing up, I envision my arms being like limp linguine - I flap my elbows in & out, roll my head a little & that helps my form. I draw my shoulder blades back & down to keep from scrunching my traps up to my ears.

Make sure you have a slight contraction to the lower abs to help stabilize your lower back/core.

Having an experienced cyclist at your LBS fit you certainly can't hurt.Experienced - that's the key.

03-12-2004, 10:53 AM
I have been told by other cyclists that keeping your fore-arms strong is important. I make sure when I am lifting that I do use my fore-arms to add some strength. I don't do any specific exercises for them but I make sure they are included when doing curls and such.

Something to think about any way!

There is ALWAYS something else to think about no matter how much you do already :eek:


03-19-2004, 07:51 PM
A lot of good suggestions posted. However I have found that strength in the levator scapula, upper trapezius, lower trapezius is helpful (do shoulder shrugs with weights to strenthen). Although they don't specificaly address the elbows they strengthen your shoulders, neck and head to help reduce the dependancy of your arms.