Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DOES CRANK LENGTH MATTER?

Does crank arm length matter in a time trial position?
A letter of observation from Curtis Cramblett, PT, CFMT, CSCS, Level II Cycling Coach; after returning from Garmin Team Camp, December 2010. 
I just came back from the Garmin professional cycling team camp in Grand Cayman Islands where some great discussions happened regarding crank length. Research is starting to suggest that changing crank lengths by 2.5-5mm does not change power for endurance athletes. This has also been true in my experience. Athletes, without trying, increase their cadence, making up for the slight loss in leverage. The benefits of shortening up your crank length on a time trial bike, is that as your knee and your hip come over the top of the pedal stroke, your hip and your knee have to bend less. Keeping the angles closer to what they are on your road position, and making it easier to keep the momentum over the top of the stroke. That’s a very good thing if you consider your hip has to bend so much more in a time trial position, while your torso angle comes down, in order to get very aerodynamic. When this drop in torso closes up the hip angle, basically you increase hip bend and the amount of stretch to your hip muscles in the back, including your hamstrings. Additionally this puts the muscles in the front of the hip, the hip flexors, at a much more shortened position and when muscles gets very short, they have a harder time contracting.  
David Zabriski, Curtis Cramblett
Curtis CramblettChristian's Van De Velde
In summary, as crank length goes down, we are still trying to figure out how much is still efficient for most people. As crank length goes down the decreased hip and knee bend at the top makes it easier to clear the top of pedal stroke, and thus allows less bumping of your knees into your chest. For most cyclists, a feeling of easier breathing comes with that, keeping them appropriately positioned over the top of the pedal. For those triathletes out there, it also seems to make it easier to then hop off the bike and transition into your run. So there's not enough good research yet, however the cutting edge thought these days, is to consider having 2 different crank lengths; one for your road bike and one for your time trial bike - where the time trial bike is shorter. 

Many will suggest that getting used to one and then switching over to the other is detrimental, because you’re use to a certain pedal circle. However my experience, and other avid cyclists experience, suggests that it’s a lot easier to get used to a smaller circle than it is to get used to a more bent hip angle, closed hip angle and it’s easier to keep your power levels higher with a more open hip angle where you’re fighting this pedal at the top of the stroke. Gives us something to think about, and I would suggest you checkout Slowtwitch.com, look up crank length, there are some nice discussions going on there, and I think you will see a lot more cyclists and triathletes; when in time trial positions, choosing to shorten up their cranks in the next couple years.
— Curtis Cramblett, PT, CFMT, CSCS, Level II Cycling Coach. Revolutions In Fitness.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Work the fuzz out, why we need to keep moving!

Here is an fascinating video which illustrates what happens when we stop moving, from injury or just lack of activity, even sleeping!

Please first listen to below audio introduction (turn your volume up) from Curtis Cramblett, PT, CFMT, CSCS, Level II Cycling Coach, then click the link to the video. Important to learn more about this "loose connective tissue and fascia" before watching. The video includes a Cadaver, a person that passed away & donated their body to science. 


video


Ready to watch Gil Hedley's, 
"Fascia and stretching: 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Introduction to Revolutionizing your Bike Fit

As most avid cyclists already know, riding a bicycle represents fun, fitness, companionship with fellow riders. Unfortunately, most cyclists at some point in their lives have learned their bicycles can also be a source of aches, pains and overuse injuries. There is hope, however. Ongoing developments in bike fit technology, greater biomechanical understanding relative to cyclists’ needs and sophisticated bike fitting techniques have resulted in a comprehensive bike fit solution capable of addressing the underlying causes of physical complaints, and returning the affected rider to comfort on the bike.

What Should A Comprehensive Bike Fit Include?
Since the above suggests the prospect of a bike fit as a source of ‘pain relief,’ it is important to note that not all bike fit providers are created equal. Instead, the achy rider would do well to ensure his bike fit solution of choice marries physical therapy/biomechanics evaluation and treatment, and appropriate technology with traditional evaluation and adjustments to the bike itself. Only then is a bike fit solution truly comprehensive and able to:
  • Accurately evaluate the patient’s physical dysfunction/source of pain on the bike, rather than simply guessing at the problem
  • Effectively translate on-table evaluation and treatment, into on-bike changes in patient biomechanics
  • Determine a short-term bike position that accommodates and facilitates healing by reducing stress on injured/recovering tissues.
Lucas Euser of Garmin Slipstream 
As a minimum the following bike fit-related contact point dimensions should be checked (and adjusted, if appropriate):
  • Cleat position – Fore/aft, rotation and medial/lateral
  • Seat height – Fore/aft, seat angle (this dimension is best determined via motion capture technology such as Retül, a goniometer can be substituted not available)
  • Handlebar position – Determined by handlebar stem length/angle
  • Handlebar dimensions – Width, reach and drop (road bike)/brake lever position
The above dimensions have ‘neutral/efficient positions’ for the average healthy cyclist; however, they can also be altered to reduce tissue stress if disorders such as hamstring tendonitis, cervical disc injury, and Achilles tendon injuries are present. The bike fitter must know which dimension must be adjusted in light of the patient’s biomechanics. In addition, the fitter must understand which components might need to be replaced or added to the patient’s bike as part of the bike fit process, e.g., addition of forefoot or rear foot shims to patient’s clipless pedal system to address foot tilt, or changing out improperly sized handlebars to achieve appropriate width. 

At Revolutions In Fitness, a long-time provider of physical therapy comprehensive bike fits, such adjustments, along with physical therapy evaluation/treatment and advanced biomechanical tools such as Retül (motion capture) and Spin Scan (pedal mechanics), have often eliminated patient pain with a single bike fitting session! 

For an in-depth article on comprehensive bike fitting, visit  www.revolutionsinfitness.com/articles.html.


Revolutions In Fitness – Who We Are:
Revolutions In Fitness Inc. is a physical therapist-owned outpatient orthopedic cash practice providing a range of services and products to enhance human performance including comprehensive bike fitting, physical therapy, cycling coaching, personal training, cycling efficiency analysis, power/heart rate zone testing and custom orthotics. Founded by Curtis Cramblett, LPT, CFMT, CSCS in 2003, the Revolutions In Fitness team has since helped people from all walks of life, from mainstream patients seeking recovery from aches, pains and injuries, to the pro-level athlete vying for a podium position at the season’s A-level races. Recent successes include:
  • Designated physical therapy/bike fit provider, Garmin Transition Pro Cycling Team (Gerona, Spain) – Provide of on-site team member evaluation on/off bike, implement related bicycle adjustments, and summarize for Garmin Transitions medical staff biomechanical dysfunctions associated with each team member requiring treatment in order to improve rider efficiency.
  • Bike fit provider of choice – Chris Lieto (2nd place finisher, Ironman Kona 2009) and 2004/2008 Olympians
A number of aspects make Revolutions In Fitness different from other comprehensive bike fit providers:

  • Comprehensive bike fits incorporating physical therapy evaluation/treatment and use of advanced biomechanical tools such as Retül (motion capture) and Spin Scan (pedal mechanics)
  • Highly qualified and educated staff with advanced Manual Therapy Certifications
  • In-depth knowledge of athletes and their performance needs and goals
  • Revolutions In Fitness has two locations in San Jose and Menlo Park, and employs two licensed physical therapists and one ATC, a recent finisher of Revolutions In Fitness’ bike fit fellowship program.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Soreness and pain with running

I have soreness and pain with running, is massage therapy the solution?
Answer: Manual Physical Therapy combined with exercise for flexibility, and movement re-education can get you running healthier and faster again!
Treating soreness with soft tissue work is a great idea to get rid of the achiness and tightness short term. Usually ‘structural integration / deep tissue’ work helps loosen up some of the underlying tightness.


Longer term think about your training routine especially around appropriate rest (sleeping enough?) and rest between runs, intensity of runs, ‘cross training’ outside of running including stretching, core or possibly some running specific strength work.


We frequently find that when this kind of soreness continues there are some running form issues along with some tight areas muscles and joints that are root causes. Frequently poor movement at one's ankles, hips and trunk along with core strength are present. Massage therapists can work on some of the tight muscle stuff but start to think about the other pieces as well.


We are big fans of some of Danny Dreyer’s Chi Running exercises and form videos to help. www.chirunning.com. You might also consider a professional evaluation at some time. Most bodies have some old injuries that healed well enough not to hurt anymore but have lagging stiffnesses that can arise when we work to accomplish new goals.  These stiffnesses or inefficiencies mentioned above are quite changeable at any age and allow us to start growing younger by getting healthier in these weak links.
--- Revolutions in Fitness Staff

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BIKE FIT - answers for an aching neck!

by Dan McDonough | Revolutions In Fitness Retül Certified Bike Fitter


('07 Tour of California pro's starting Sierra climb - by Beverly Garrity)
My aching neck, why is flexibility important? 

Neck pain and many times hand numbness that comes from a pinched neck / nerve on the bike is usually a combination of:

1) The interrelationship between a person's flexibility and their bike fit.
2) The interrelationship between a person's strength in their bike fit.
3) Any existing or pre-existing problems such as: disc bulge is, nerve root encroachment, facet misalignment (neck joints).

When we are on the bike, assuming a forward bend position (usually around 45 degrees to the horizon) we must somehow get our head facing forward so that we can see the road. This can be accomplished in one of three ways.
The first is to by solely extending the neck
The second is to extend our lumbar spine and/or thoracic spine
The third is a combination of the two above.

So here's a demonstration sight unseen, to help explain these relationships.  Follow each of these directions and progressively.
1) Bend forward slowly sliding your fingers down the front of your thighs when you reach your kneecaps stop.
2) Slowly look up by just moving your neck. Do not move your back.
This is an example of the first method.  It puts great of stress all of the neck and low back. It increases pressure on the facet joints (joints in your back), nerve roots, and adds stress to the muscles that support the neck.

The second option:
1) As above, bend forward slowly sliding your fingers down the front of your thighs when you reach your kneecaps stop.
2) Slowly pull your belly button down toward the floor letting your lumbar spine extend (arch down, dip / sag toward the floor).
3) Slowly pull your shoulder blades together causing extension or arching of your mid back (thoracic spine).
4) Lastly, as needed, looked up to see the road.

Notice that most of your movement looking up needed in order to see the road can be gained from your low back and mid back. However, this takes flexibility of your hamstrings, whole spine (lumbar spine, thoracic spine and cervical), chest (pectoralis) muscles, and neck muscles. It also takes strength and ENDURANCE of these muscles: abdominals, back extensor group (multifidus erector spinae, illiocostalis, multifitis), shoulder blade muscles (mid traps, lower trapezius, serratus anterior) and the neck muscles.

If you look at your pelvis (hips) to your spine as a chain, if several of these links are still (back upper / lower or hamstrings) then the other links (in your neck) have to make up for the stiffness.

The biggest factor relative to the neck regarding bike fit is the relationship between seat height and handle bar height. The lower your handle bars are as compared to your saddle, the more you must bend forward and thus the more flexibility in strength is needed.


Thus think about stretching next time you feel that nagging ache.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet RIF Physical Therapist - Belinda Ting

Belinda Ting, Doctorate PT, FAAOMPT, Certified Pilates instructor  

Belinda is one of only 462 fellows belonging to the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapy committed to advance orthopedic manual therapy worldwide. She graduated in 2003 with a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and has been an Orthopedic Certified Specialist since 2006. Belinda’s interest in sports began at an early age with her participation in competitive tennis and gymnastics. With 13 years of movement science experience, Belinda began her journey of promoting health through fitness as a Personal Trainer in Singapore. Belinda worked for almost 4 years at a Sports/Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinic in Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

In addition to working as a Physical Therapist, Belinda has also been teaching Pilates in a studio for the past 4 years. She combines fitness and rehabilitation through core strengthening and dynamic stretching from Pilates. Her background in gymnastics combined with her recent research in this field gives her a very well rounded understanding towards these athletes.

Belinda’s Philosophy
Belinda believes strongly that ‘Our body’s dysfunction is an accumulation of our lifetime of sports and daily activities. It is movement that brought us to this dysfunction and I believe that movement through rehabilitation can bring back function but only through manual therapy can we expedite this process’.

Credentials:
• Doctorate / Licensed in Physical Therapy
• Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy
• Board Certified Orthopedic Certified Specialist
• National Strength and Conditioning Association-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
• American College of Sports Medicine-Health Fitness Instructor
• Certified Pilates Instructor from Power Pilates (Classical)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Revolutions In Fitness enters Social Media world!

Introducing an informative Blog from Revolutions In Fitness! Read about tips for getting stronger, recovery from or staying injury free while pursuing your health and athletic goals. Articles with the latest research on PT methods, hints for taping, stretching and ways to increase efficiency. If it sounds like you could benefit from the knowledge - we'll pass it along here. Here we'll be posting not only bio's on the Revolutions In Fitness Staff, but reporting if they are up to something unique as well! Events and lectures to be detailed and other happenings that athletic and health seeking readers might like to become aware of.