Inspire Physical Therapy PART 1
Sick Bike! Sick Wheels! Sick Coach! Sick Body??….
So you have done the off season work. The winter was kind and the trainer was bearable. You spent countless hours online researching the best parts and even bought them unbenounce to the spouse. You planned your race season on TrainingPeaks and your coach pushed you further than you have even pushed before. Your new kit is aero and light and the foundations of your best ever season were laid.
Bike Racing can be like building a race car. You pick and choose the shiniest parts because you want to look good and go fast. You put your money in places that are immediately obvious like the engine, the wheels and the paint job. It’s all fun right? But what about that piece thats under the car?? What about the transmission. Even with all the power going through the tuned engine, you are not moving forward if the transmission is slipping or if the engine loses its tune. All the bling in the world can gain the envy of your friends, but it is not going to help you on the race course.
Ok, so comparisons and cliche’s aside, what are we talking about. We are talking about spending upwards of $10,000 on a bike only to not be happy riding it. We are talking about getting the most out of your body when things fall out of balance or when an old injury rears its ugly head.
Enter 1K2GO-Onion River Sports team sponsor Inspire Physical Therapy. Oliver Hall, a bike racer and PT, know all to well what happens when you neglect your body parts. Things continue to work, but with proper care, he proves that the body can work better.
Michael Hopwood is a team racer. He is older than 50, but he has the physique of a much younger athlete. He is coached by 1K2GO SPORTS and he is a very powerful bike racer. But, like so many, putting power that he has in his engine to the ground sometimes comes with pain and suffering. This is the kind of pain and suffering that we do not volunteer for, its the kind that the body provides against our will. But Michael has lived hard as a ski bum and wants to feel the gain with out the pain. As a performance cyclist, the pain should come from the workouts, not the knees or quads. Here is Michaels assessment of the work that he is doing with Ollie at Inspire Physical Therapy.
MICHAEL HOPWOODS PERSPECTIVE
For two cycling seasons I have struggled with quad pain that flares up when racing begins and the intensity ramps.
Bobby suggested meeting with Ollie and having him assess what is going on and see if I can avoid the trouble.
As Ollie pointed out, the body are very complex and weakness in one area is often compensated for in other areas. Under stress, those areas are forced to work beyond their limits and you have pain or injuries. In my case my he feels my glutes and hips are weak and forcing my quads to compensate.
He had me go through a series of seemingly simple exercises and I felt like the 20 pound weakling – I couldn’t do them some of them at all. Ollie was patient trying multiple ways to get me to feel the muscle he was trying to work. Much harder than it sounds. He sent me home with some exercise homework which I did for the next week though they didn’t seem as hard at home so either I was getting better or not doing them right.
In the second appointment this week he saw that I had gained some strength/control already through the exercises. Now he had me walk and noticed there was a pronounced (to him anyway) tilt of my body that was again forcing my right quad to do more work. Interestingly a couple of years ago another ride commented how I wasn’t perfectly in alignment when riding but I didn’t think anything of it.
He had me practice some more exercises to help move me back in alignment and get the pressure off the quad. Now more homework until the next appointment.
Mike came in complaining of lateral quad pain when biking at higher intensities. He had the same problem last year, especially when climbing or pushing big gears. He has not had any traumatic injury and his hip and knee did not show any signs of injury when we evaluated him. The biggest finding was his mechanics – when Mike bikes he finds his knees are always very close to the crossbar. Taking it a step further: when he walks his knees point in, especially on the R, and his feet point out, his R shoulder is much lower than his L and his R calve is about an inch larger than his L. If you look at the photographs of Mike’s legs you will notice with the single leg squat how his R knee points in more than his L. This is why he is feeling more symptoms on the R. Basically Mike is a little knock-kneed and as such all the muscles on the outsides of his knees/thighs are tight. He has effectively put himself in a position that selectively overloads his outer/lateral quads and underutilizes his glute max (butt muscle) especially on the R. We started working to get Mike to find his R glute max with non-weightbearing exercises and found that his R leg started to shake just by having him externally rotate his R hip/thigh up against gravity – he needs much more glute control than this to bike well! At his first visit I had him squat down and hold for about 20 seconds – his outer quads immediately took over and were sore. After a week of working on his R glute max he was able to perform the same squat, but this time feeling his medial quads working. He still needs to strengthen his R glute max much more and make it become more active with biking, but this is a very good step in the right direction! Our goal is to work his R glute max to bring his R upper and lower leg into alignment so that there is no twisting about his knee and no shortening of his R lateral quad. We’ll keep you posted on progress!
Some Pics of the work they are doing!