Updated: Feb 4
Every instructor's responsibility is to evaluate the bike set up for safety while looking at a participant's posture while riding. When evaluating a student's posture, it is recommended to evaluate from head to toe. The advantage of using a consistent means of postural correction is that the repetitive nature will eventually reinforce good riding habits and play a role in injury prevention. This method is helpful for the HYDRORIDER® instructor in terms of a systematic process of correcting posture in the bike and has a learning tool for riders.
A good HYDRORIDER® instructor is on and off the bike and in and out of the water helping students. Teaching students good posture is a valuable skill and can help prevent injuries while providing comfort and relaxation during training. The job here is to provide verbal instruction to participants, while riding comfortable and efficiently. You must be careful to observe and correct the students for:
A. HEAD/CERVICAL REGION
Remember that the cervical muscles require strength to support the head. Many students do not have the strength in those muscles, until they have been training on a bike for a while. If demonstrated from the deck, there is a chance that students will always be looking up, putting strain on the extensor muscles.
Cue: To relax shoulders. 'Allow the head to fall in a natural position."
Cue: 'Lift the head as it sends a message to the shoulder and the shoulder blades will automatically retract."
Shoulders remain relaxed, square, and in alignment with the hips.
Cue: "relax the shoulders, drop and soften the elbow."
C. LUMBAR REGION
Encourage a small round or curve in the lumbar. Remain neutral even in a climbing position. In order to promote lumbar support, it is essential to encourage full core strength while riding. While using the lumbar for support, we need to activate the abdominal cavity for support. Here are two cues that encompasses the complete recruitment of core strength while riding. These cues will also allow participants to know what it feels like to engage core strength while riding.
Cue: "Place a slight arch in the back. Imagine a balloon between the navel and the spine. Compress that balloon while continuing to breathe.”
Cue: "Think of your lower abdominal as an elevator shaft. Roll up that elevator and bring down that rib cage to close the shaft".
Hips always stay square and in alignment with the shoulders. A pelvic tilt can help to release any pressure off the lower back. The tendency is to slide forward when a participant becomes tired, using more energy than necessary. Sliding back at the hips on the saddle and using the handles to lean on, is a sign that the participant is tired. The rocking of the hips may also show an incorrect adjustment in the seat height.
Bowed knees on any cycling frame can mean that the seat may be too low or just an individual's genetics. This can be corrected by raising the seat with constant reminders to the participant to bring the knees forward. Any flexion in the knee greater than 35 degrees is a sign that the saddle is too low. Please encourage students to keep their knees over their toes. This is a great cue to use throughout the ride.
Flat feet can sometimes cause supination of the foot or what appears to look like a lack of support. This can look or appear as if the foot is collapsing inward. Encourage participants to wear aquatic shoes, even if the support is minimal. Having foot support also provides more support throughout the knees and hips.
Toe pedaling is often a common mistake in indoor cycling and is commonly seen among instructors. Encourage good toe technique and set an example. Pedal with the toes facing forward and feet parallel to the floor (see pedaling techniques). This is a great cue to focus on throughout the ride.
Cue: "Feet are parallel to the floor." Toes will turn down naturally on the downstroke with the force and momentum of the current. The key is to keep the toes pointed forward, pedaling through the up and downstroke with even force.
I hope this helps everyone. Have a great, safe and enjoyable ride.
From "Aquabike 1 Level" Manual by Hydrorider®. (2018th Edition). All Rights Reserved
Ivan De Luca