We’ve all been there, in the form of our lives and then all of a sudden, an injury or crash wipes us out before we’ve even had the chance to make the most of all that good form. Unfortunately, this will happen to all of us at some point. Some of you may be more prone to them than others, either because you’re pushing yourself too hard too often or you quite simply struggle to stay upright when out on two wheels.
Either way, we will all spend some time off the bike and many of the most common issues that cyclists will face are not only treatable but preventable too! It’s also important to remember that your body is a complex structure and quite often where you are presenting with pain may not always be the cause of the pain in the first place… we’re looking at you knees!
But before we go any further, you should always seek professional advice and guidance when it comes to pain and injuries you think are caused by cycling, particularly if pain on the bike continues when you are going about your day off the bike.
So how can cycling cause injuries?
Crashing! Pretty obvious but true, nonetheless. Most crashes happen at speed, and these are often characterised by road rash as well as impact injuries like fractures, dislocations, muscle strains, and bruising.
Road rash? Those within the cycling fraternity will understand right away what we are talking about but for those who don’t… when we crash or fall off at higher speeds we will generally slide across the road or trail surface after we make impact with the ground. This causes friction and abrasions that will tear right through your favourite kit set as well as numerous layers of skin.
Now unfortunately, when we crash or overexert ourselves on our rides, we can cause significant muscle damage and strains which we may pass off as a simple case of D.O.M.S. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). However, muscle strains caused by crashes or poor bike fit for example can lead you to over-compensate in other areas of the body when you are next riding (without you realising often), resulting in overuse injuries.
Knee injuries are the most common overuse injury in cycling; patellofemoral syndrome (pain), patella and quadriceps tendonitis and iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome to be specific. All of these injuries are characterised either by pain around, under or outside of the kneecap and can become debilitating both on and off the bike if left untreated.
Knee injuries can be caused by overexertion but are often the result of inappropriate positioning on the bike itself. If the saddle and cleats are not positioned correctly, this can lead to sustained tension on the kneecap and the weakening of an important stability muscle called the vastus medialis.
Seeking a professional for help with bike fit is a great first step if you are concerned about knee pain whilst cycling. They may suggest raising or lowering the saddle or adjusting the position of your cleats to offset the tension around the knee capsule.
You only have to look at the position we sit in for hours a day (both on and off the bike) to realise why back, and neck pain are also incredibly common problems for cyclists too. Aggressive bike positions, whilst they may be more aerodynamic (and look cooler too) put a lot of stress on the lower back, and shoulders. But not only that, tight hamstrings, and hip flexor muscles (very common for cyclists) will cause the back to arch often pain and tension here will lead to problems elsewhere such as the neck.
Raising your handlebars or using a shorter stem is a great first step here as is developing your core strength. Developing your core strength will further offset the load on your shoulders and back and may help you comfortably adopt a more aggressive position or tolerate a less aggressive position for significantly longer.
We’re sure you will all agree that cycling at any level is physically and mentally demanding and success (whatever that is to you) is reliant on a whole host of physiological, psychological, and technical factors. Not least an element of luck and skill, particularly in mass start events like a sportive or criteriums.
In fact, meta-analyses of the professional XC-MTB peloton found that only 40% of the variance between finishing times could be explained by physiological differences i.e., who was the fittest or strongest athlete on the day.
Nutrition is also a becoming a key point of concern for riders, teams, and national governing bodies too both in terms of preloading and maintaining exercise intensity but also in recovery terms too. It certainly has the potential to add to the variance between rider to rider… you’ve heard of marginal gains, right?
But why is this so important?
Well, the human body must expend a lot of energy to propel you forwards on a bike and will also create a lot of damage in the process too. And that’s without crashing either!
Muscle damage amongst other things, are an inevitable part of the training process and how we recover and repair that damage is perhaps the most important determinant of how far or how quickly you will adapt and improve; ready to take on another brutal ride day in day out.
Collagen is an essential component of almost all the physical structures of the human body, from the muscles, ligaments, tendons, even cartilage and bone. Collagen levels deplete as we get older but also because of the stress and damage of physical activity. Supplementing you daily recovery routine with high-quality collagen supplements plays a fundamental role in ensuring your body has all the essential building blocks it needs to recover and repair optimally after your bike ride, meaning you can train harder and recover faster.
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The human body and its muscles and joints like to be active and move. So, when you are sat in a static position on your bike or at a chair, it is almost expected that aches, pains, and niggles will occur.
Strains and sprains to ligaments, tendons, and muscles are incredibly common in cyclists of all abilities, and if left untreated can lead to a significant amount of time off the bike, even surgeries or at the very least multiple rounds of costly physiotherapy.
Ligaments and tendons are incredibly strong tissues and are designed to withstand a lot of tension and strain. However, incorrect movement patterns and overuse and poor recovery strategies can lead to pain and injuries. Tendonitis of the patella (knee) and Achilles (ankle) tendon are the most disruptive injuries a cyclist might face, and they are also the most painful too.
U Perform’s Active Collagen gels are a unique recovery formulation of 2 Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, TENDORFORTE® and VERISOL®, as well as added vitamins and minerals; proven to stimulate the repair and regeneration of tendons and ligaments, supporting them to recover faster and stronger and keeping you pedalling!
Thanks to growing research evidence and real-world stories proving their efficacy and value in ANY rehabilitation, prehabilitation or daily recovery nutrition program, U Perform TENDOFORTE® collagen fibres may be the missing piece in your performance and recovery puzzle.
For example, one study by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) examined the benefits of TENDOFORTE® over a period of 6 months. The participants were 20 runners with long-term symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy, not responding to any traditional therapies, and being unable to train.
Within 3 months, 12 out of 20 participants were able to return to running after starting a therapy with a daily intake of 5g of TENDOFORTE®. What’s more, the benefits continued, and more runners returned to training in the following 3 months.
Not only that, VERISOL® Bioactive Collagen Peptides® stimulate new collagen production body wide and targets hair, skin, and nails to protect and nourish the skin, from the inside out, against the wear and tear of sweat, cold, wind and, sunlight exposure.
VERISOL® Bioactive Collagen Peptides® have also been subject to trials related to skin surface wound healing such as scars and abrasions. Best results have been shown using a minimum of 5g of VERISOL® per day for up to 4 weeks, demonstrating that collagen can play an essential role in supporting the repair and maintenance of the skin.
U Perform's Active Collagen is the No.1 Sports Collagen supplement in the UK right now and is used by cyclists worldwide to optimise their recovery and performance - Try it for yourself - SEE and FEEL the difference.
Exercise-induced muscle damage is an inevitable part of the cycling experience and whether you are riding 100 miles or 10, you will experience it to some degree. Researchers are currently analysing the impact of this on concurrent exercise performance. It’s no good putting in a huge effort one day and expecting to be able to do this on the next because 9 times out of 10 this isn’t going to happen.
Recovery from exercise is where the gains are made and can help optimise your next performance. Supplementing with a high-quality recovery protein source such as U Perform’s Active Whey & Collagen post-workout, meets this need conveniently and cost-effectively. Alongside whey protein, collagen supplementation not only provides a high-quality source of Essential and Branched Chain Amino Acids, but targeted Bioactive Collagen Peptides® have been proven to improve the recovery of muscle tissue, to increase their strength and make them more resistant to injury.
In combination with a structured and progressive training program, with Active Whey & Collagen you will be able to train harder and recover faster!
The collagen in our muscles is different to the collagen in our joints and as such requires a completely targeted approach. A different tool for a different job so to speak. The latest innovation in collagen technology, BODYBALANCE® is a brand-new muscle specific Performance Peptide®. BODYBALANCE® has a multi-factorial effect on body composition and the maintenance and development of muscle mass.
Furthermore, several randomised, placebo controlled. double blinded studies have demonstrated the efficacy and potential of the daily intake of 15g of BODYBALANCE® in combination with resistance training showing increases in muscle size, strength, decrease in waist circumference and, improved muscle recovery times.
What a lot of cyclists don’t realise is that up to 10% of the protein that forms muscle tissue is collagen. Now this might not seem like a lot, but when you understand the role that this small amount of collagen plays in the repair, strength, and function of muscles you’ll quickly change your mind as to how important collagen really is.
Collagen fibres are comparable to that of a rope in that they are built up from lots of individual fibres twisting tightly around themselves and then twisted together with others to form long strings creating a highly stable and robust structure.
Due to this repeatedly twisted structure, collagen fibres offer incredible tensile strength. Collagen fibres are intertwined between the layers of fibrils in muscle tissue, thus giving the muscles the added rigidity and flexibility, they need to perform optimally under load, i.e., when cycling or performing weighted exercises in the gym.
Active Whey & Collagen is convenient and cost-effective and is the perfect way to kickstart your recovery as soon as you step off the bike. Try it today - SEE and FEEL the difference for yourself.
Knee pain is far too common amongst cyclists – but more than not it is actually an indication of a problem elsewhere. Nevertheless, any activity related knee joint pain and discomfort can be incredibly disruptive to your cycling experience and can lead to time off the bike.
The knee joint is a highly complex structure with a singular function and that is to act as a hinge between the hip and the ankle. This kinetic chain is infinitely more complex and subject to a lot of movement and stress, especially when we are cycling. And unfortunately, this is exactly the reason why the knee joint itself it is never the cause of pain or injury.
If you are serious about your cycling or are concerned with existing joint pain when cycling, it is important to maintain the integrity and mobility of your joints and articular surfaces, whether you are wanting to take the next step up in your cycling performance or simply looking to enjoy cycling as part of your active lifestyle.
With a unique formulation of Type II optimised Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, FORTIGEL® is an innovative ingredient clinically proven to activate the growth of new cartilage and protect the integrity of existing cartilage by stimulating specific collagen producing cells in the cartilage tissue itself, helping to ease joint discomfort, and keep joints moving smoother for longer.
Knee pain can usually be categorised as the following:
- Anterior knee pain: pain at the front of the kneecap (patella)
This can sometimes be the result of tight or short quadricep muscles or the fibrous tissue of the iliotibial band pulling on the patella and causing it to track incorrectly. Anterior knee pain can also come from damage to the underlying meniscus and cartilage, either by direct trauma or repetitive use and irritation. If the kneecap is held in an incorrect position for too long or under too much strain whilst moving, this can cause significant irritation of the patella tendon.
- Posterior knee pain: pain behind the kneecap (patella)
Often as a result of your saddle being too high, posterior knee pain is caused by overly tight or short hamstrings and pain develops behind the knee where the hamstring and its tendons insert around the back of the knee joint. Overly short hamstrings can also pull on the lower back and pelvis. This is met by a counterbalancing effect from the quadriceps – that rocking and rolling over a saddle we see time and time again when out on the road. All this does if create an even greater leg length discrepancy which puts further pressure on the knee.
- Lateral & Medial knee pain: pain on the outside of the knee joint & pain on the inside of the knee joint
Pain on either the outside or inside of the knee joint can often be the result of all of the above as well as injuries to the cartilage and ligaments of the knee joint as well. Lateral and medial knee pain can be incredibly painful and may initially present swelling and inflammation too.
Knee pain can also be caused by weakness in the glutes as this encourages the hamstrings and quadriceps to work more than they should – causing all the problems we have listed above.
But tackling joint pain doesn’t have to be purely reactive. Being proactive with our nutrition and strength and conditioning exercises can significantly reduce the likelihood of pain and or reduce the severity and longevity of pain should it occur.
Nutritional supplements like Active Sport Collagen are a cost-effective and convenient way to support optimal joint health and keep you on the bike whatever the road (or weather) throws at you.
Active Sport Collagen utilises an innovative ingredient called FORTIGEL®. The effectiveness of FORTIGEL® has been scientifically proven in numerous studies and according to published research, the ingestion of FORTIGEL® collagen peptides stimulate a significant increase of cartilage tissue metabolism, against placebo.
One study, carried out by Harvard University, investigated the long-term effect of FORTIGEL® treatment on the composition of hyaline cartilage in individuals with early knee osteoarthritis, a common condition that can affect the ability for us to stay in the game as we get older. The analysis of the final cartilage scans revealed a statistically significant increase in proteoglycan density in the medial and lateral tibial regions of the FORTIGEL® treated subjects compared to the placebo group.
Studies have been carried out in various groups and looking at activity related joint pain as well as joint disorders: including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis with all showing statistically significant results in as little as 12 weeks (minimum 5g daily serving FORTIGEL®).
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