All Important Hip Position

author : Team BT
comments : 2

If anyone can see the front of your shorts, you're doing it wrong.

A common beginner mistake for cyclists is to swing a leg over the bike, sit upright like a kid, and then reach for the handlebars ... and stay in that position for the whole ride.

Of course that's how we all have to get started, but once you have your balance and you're rolling for a few yards, you need to shift your hips and butt in order to achieve a good, aerodynamic position on the bike, and shift the part of your legs you are using to cycle, so you have  leg muscles that aren't totally spent when the run portion of the triathlon comes around.

You've probably heard a lot of talk about trying to keep a straight back, or straight spine. And discussions about hip position are often hard to follow, because it's difficult to name the parts of the pelvis, and really feel which way they are tipped, especially when you are starting out in cycling or any other sport.

A simple way to think of it is to imagine your bike shorts have a really obnoxious, bright yellow daisy on the front, near the waistband. And also imagine you have a fluffy bunny tail sewn on your bike shorts, right where your tailbone is.

Now the normal way we all learned to ride a bike as a kid would have that bright yellow daisy facing forward, ahead of us, so oncoming cars would see it. And the fluffy bunny tail would be crushed against the bike seat, under our butt.

Now we're going to get radical, and explain the triathlon way of sitting on a bike saddle.

Once you're rolling down the road comfortably and your arms are in the aero bars, shift your hips so that your bunny tail is sticking up in the air behind you, and the bright yellow daisy is facing down, looking at the road.

Got it? Now maybe you are thinking all of this talk about a straight back and rotated hips is starting to make sense. Your weight should now be on your pubic bone. (At least, the weight that is not on your hands and on the pedals.) You will feel more like you are lying on your stomach on a lounge chair, reading a book. (Except for how most of the lounge chair is missing between your elbows and your pelvis.)

The benefits of this position are that your back is not rounded and strained, with your shoulders stretching to reach ahead of you. Instead, you can have your elbows tucked and at a 90-degree angle. Your head will now be in line with the bulk of your body, so your helmet will cut through the air and the rest of your body will follow.

In addition, you are now putting the stress and fatigue on your leg muscles at a different angle than you do when running, which will help save your legs for the run. (You may notice a decrease in bike speed at first, until you build muscle in new area to allow you to produce power in this position.)

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date: August 31, 2016

Team BT