Good flexibility is your friend. So is core strength (abs & back). Combined, core strength and flexibility improve breathing, comfort, power, endurance, and enable you to maintain a longer, lower posture which improves handling and aerodynamics.
For more people than not (including many very fit cyclists), improving flexibility and core strength have not been prioritized. Let’s face it, life throws lots of time absorbing things at you and not everything can be fit into your top 5 daily things to do. So having less than stellar assessments in either is nothing to be ashamed off. On the other hand, it’s really important to be honest with yourself.
Setting your bike up as though you had great flexibility and core strength when you don’t will diminish your cycling experience in endurance, power, comfort, and can even lead to injury.
That’s why we like to understand as much as we can about you now and what your goals are. Generally, the right size bicycle will allow room for adjustment as your body changes.
CHECKING YOUR FLEXIBILITY
There are many ways to assess flexibility. A trained PT may spend twenty minutes or more, putting you through a range of ‘tests’ with the greatest benefit probably being providing you with a range of daily exercises designed to improve flexibility, core strength, alignment, etc. But the easiest DIY method is just a simple reach for the floor which is generally more than adequate to help plan the best bike set up.
It helps to do this with a friend to watch from the side to make sure that you are not bending your knees too much.
Don’t do this the first thing in the morning right after you’ve been sleeping for 8 hours nor right after you’ve been sitting for hours on end. Go ahead and just loosen up for five minutes first.
Stand feet slightly apart, arms at your sides and then allowing your knees to bend only enough so that they are not locked and pivoting at your hips, let your upper body and arms hand down as low as they will go. Don’t force this… Its OK to just hang there for a few seconds and note how close to the floor your hands are.