Monday, February 6, 2012

Analyze This

Over the past couple years I have been very dedicated to staying on top of keeping my body healthy. I eat well, sleep plenty, get my legs worked on after I destroy them, etc. But one area I have not touched on is actual form - as in running form or riding form.

With a tight left hamstring that I have historically always kept under control with ART and massage, I decided it was time to try to get to the root of the problem. Muscles often get tight from overuse. But they also get tight from muscle imbalances or weaknesses. My goal was to try to figure out the root of my hamstring issue.

I made an appointment with Positive Energy Physical Therapy to have my bike and run gait analyzed. I was video taped both on the bike and the run from multiple angles. From the above image we can most definitely conclude that my legs look like tree stumps when blown up on a large screen.

But we also found that my right knee drops in slightly on both the bike and run. An area where I am losing power on the bike.

And after a few basic strength exercises we discovered my left calf and ankle are incredibly weak. And this weakness is compensated for by my inner hamstring muscle. My body automatically recruits this muscle when the others fail to do their job. Only problem is that this muscle wasn't meant to take on massive loads. 

I was sent home with a rubber band and two basic sets of exercises that should help strengthen my ankle and calf, and hopefully will also result in a happier hamstring in the long term.

If you are in the LA area (Redondo to be specific) and want to be a more efficient runner, cyclist, etc. or maybe have a nagging pain you would like to get rid of - I'd highly recommend checking out Positive Energy PT. They were affordable and it was probably one of the best 90 minutes I've spent in a while that should lead to long-term healthy running and riding.