Have you ever seen someone cycling in the upright position, especially in a racing event or when the race is approaching the end? Not unless they are trying to slow down, right? This is because bending forward is considered to be a basic technique to improve cycling performance.
So, the question you might ask is, why do cyclists bend forward? Or should you too crouch down while cycling? You will find the answer through this article.
Read along, and learn why it is important to maintain the correct posture while cycling and the importance of bending forward!
Why Do Cyclists Lean Forward?
Leaning forward is one of the best techniques to improve cycling speed. That is why you see almost all those expert cyclers bending over while in action.
To break down how bending forward actually helps in faster pedaling, there are several factors to mention.
The first one is that, by bending forwards, cyclists can get better body balance and keep the center of gravity to their advantage. Also, bending forward makes more of your weight act towards the front wheel, which will create better momentum.
Air resistance is yet another key factor when it comes to cycling. By crouching down, cyclists minimize air resistance, thereby being able to cruise faster.
In addition to all these benefits, another key factor that inspire cyclists to bend forwards is that by doing so, they can free their back from excess strain. By placing their arms on the handlebars, cyclists can get more balance while racing on track or road!
Those were all the reasons why professional cyclists crouch down while cycling. But that being said, maintaining such a posture throughout the race may require great effort and continuous training.
So the question here is, should you also bend forward while biking?
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Should You Lean Forward When Cycling?
Yes, although it might take more training and extra effort, if you are looking for some fortune in professional or amateur cycling, you should also consider mastering the art of leaning forward.
But before moving to the detailed explanation, here is a key point: your body is more stable when you lean forward than in any other position. That is also the reason why sprinters start with a bend-forward position, or weightlifters or squatters lean forward while lifting.
The same goes for cycling as well. When you are leaning forward, your body will be much more stable than when you are in the upright position. The main reason here is that your body’s (also including your bike) center of gravity shifts frontwards.
This will also help distribute the load evenly across the length or between the front and back tires. If more load acts on the front wheel, it can also contribute to better momentum.
Also, your quadriceps muscles are among the strongest muscle groups in your body (the thigh bone is the longest as well as one of the strongest bones in your body). By leaning forward, you can engage your quadriceps muscles more.
This will help you pedal with better strength.
Another key reason why you should lean forward is air drag. Air drag is a natural component that is hard to cancel out. But with better posture techniques, you can control its impact on your speed.
When you bend forward, only a lesser area of your body will be coming in contact with air. The lesser the area that comes in contact with air, the lesser will be the drag effects.
Compared to pedaling with an upright body position, your body will be less exposed to air when you crouch down.
But all that being said, it doesn’t mean you should try to crouch down as much as you can. Do not bend beyond an extent or beyond when you are no longer comfortable.
If you bend too much, you will be putting unnecessary strain on your neck and spine. Also, you will have to lift your neck to see forward. This will not only put an unnecessary strain, but will also cause larger air drag.
Now, speaking of how much exactly you should bend forward, it will depend on what is comfortable for you and what is your target. Some bikers will lean too much and will rest their forearms on the handlebars. Others, on the other hand, will be just holding the bars.
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Bending forward is one of the most common body positions followed by cyclists. It helps them in several aspects such as reducing air drag, better load distribution, etc.
So, if you are also looking for improvements in your biking performance, you should learn how to do biking by leaning forwards.