Background Road cycling is one of the most popular endurance sports worlwide. Due to its cyclic character, the prolonged flexion posture and significant training volumes, it is associated with a high overuse injury prevalence. To prevent these injuries, control of cycling posture is thought to be imperative. To what extent cycling posture relates with susceptibility to injury, has not been investigated so far.
Objective This study wanted to assess how cycling posture and kinematics vary in function of exercise intensity, and how this relates to the prevalence of overuse injuries.
Design Cross-sectional observational study (three-dimensional (3D) kinematic analysis).
Setting Comprehensive kinematic analysis of trunk and lower limb during cycling task of increasing intensity.
Patients (or Participants) 67 recreational road cyclists.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Participants were submitted to an exertional cycling protocol, using their own race bike on a stationairy ergometer system. Throughout the test, 3D kinematic data of lower limb and trunk were captured at constant time-intervals. Afterwards, data on power, heart rate, power-related kinematic changes and the presence of cycling-specific complaints were submitted to statistical analysis.
Main Outcome Measurements Power-increment-related kinematic changes and their association with overuse injuries.
Results Results revealed that kinematic patterns changed significantly in function of power output (p<0,024). More so, frontal plane control of trunk and pelvis during down stroke were significantly associated with injury prevalence (p<0.042). This kinematic variability presented no direct association with the slope of the heart rate curve nor maximal power output.
Conclusions Cycling kinematics differ significantly in function of power and the presence of physical complaints, irrespective of performance capacity. This might have repercussions on comfort, performance and injury susceptibility in cycling. Besides a carefully customized bike-fit, control in the trunk and pelvis are suggested to be essential to optimize comfort and reduce injury risk.
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