Cyclists are continuously looking for areas to improve performance. Road racers, time trialists and triathletes often spend thousands of dollars to eek out seconds of performance. One can only spend so much money and train so hard to improve ride times; therefore, many cyclists are exploring alternative methods to gain performance boosts.
One of the biggest areas cyclists and triathletes can gain performance without improving fitness is to improve their aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics is a hot topic these days in cycling with many bicycle manufacturers integrating aerodynamic components even in non-race bicycles. Decreasing wind drag can greatly make a ride more efficient. Regardless if you race or not there is no reason to do more work than is absolutely necessary for a ride and the bigger your profile the more air you are pushing.
A simple strategy to improve aerodynamics without changing equipment is by decreasing frontal surface area of the body (i.e., make yourself small!). Imagine taking a silhouette of your body on the bicycle from the front of your bike and make it smaller by lowering your upper body and narrowing your shoulders. Sounds simple in theory but once you add movement into the equation it becomes harder, not to mention the lack of flexibility exhibited by most cyclists after much time repeating the same motion.
Most cyclists are too inflexible to achieve optimum positioning. Many athletes risk injury setting up their bikes fit at the edge of their flexibility where they are prone to overuse injuries at end-range of motion. They can also compromise their power output forcing uncomfortable positions in the attempt to get more aero.
This is where yoga can help those aspiring to optimize their position! What other activity could be better to help the body get into shapes and positions it would not ordinarily go?
We put together a series of yoga classes with the aim to give tools to cyclists to achieve more enhanced bicycle positions. The classes teach on creating body awareness, gaining flexibility to maintain comfort and improve aerodynamics while simultaneously optimizing biomechanics. Through a careful sequence we’ll get you smaller (or at least more invisible) to the wind.
In yoga speak, making yourself small is actually a super-power (siddhi) called “anima” and it means to make your self smaller than an atom. We’re excited for you to try these aerodynamic classes. Please leave a comment with your results – we’d love to hear how you do!
About Taro Smith, Ph.D.
Taro is a physiologist, yoga teacher, and former bike racer. He designs specialty content for YogaGlo to benefit a broad range of yoga practitioners. He is the co-founder of Boulder Cycle Sport, a nationally renowned cycling retailer and 90 Monkeys, a professional yoga school. Connect with Taro on the bike via Strava http://app.strava.com/athletes/794381 and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tarosmith.