Is posture different than form on the bike? Is cueing for each different? Are they both equally important for powerful, memorable rides? Yes, yes and yes.
You’ve no doubt focused on how to cue proper form and alignment, but let’s unpack how cueing proper form, alignement and posture can create greater presence, power and perception to spark peak performance and powerful rides.
Form is the visible shape of body position – the structure or architecture, much like a building. It’s how the rider, with your guidance, has aligned their adaptable, mobile body to the immobile bike. Alignment goes hand-in-hand with form. Riders can’t achieve one without the other.
Together, alignment and form set the foundation for comfort, safety and efficiency on the bike. They set the tone for the rider’s body, and ultimately, their ride. For example, positioning hips in the saddle to feel centered and supported helps riders be more comfortable so they can ride longer and stronger. Form frees up unnecessary tension and gripping so energy is used to create more power and efficientcy. Beyond bike set up, which provides guidelines for safety, form and alignment include the subtle aspects of organizing limbs once the adjustments on the bike are set.
Cues for form include heightening both proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. Proprioception awareness helps riders sense the position of their limbs relative to each other and the body as a whole. Kinesthetic awareness helps riders be keen to how they set their body in motion.
Here are cuing examples for optimal form that help create proprioception and kinesthetic awareness:
- Feel toes and heels aligned
- Point knees directly forward
- Generate large full circles with the pedals
- Anchor sitting bones firmly in the saddle
- Lift your spine to feel a spacious waistline
- Broaden across the chest to breathe fully
- Allow elbows to drop into gravity like fishing weights to release shoulders
- Lengthen your neck on all sides
- Light touch on the handlebars when seated to feel rooted in the saddle
- Look with your eyes, not your head
- So how does posture on the bike contribute to form and alignment? Posture goes beyond the sturctural and proprioception aspects of form and alignment. Yes, posture does include the position in which the body is held, however, posture is also a particular way of dealing with or approaching something. Posture includes attitude.
Picture someone you consider to be confident. How would you describe their posture? There’s a good chance their strong belief in self is reflected in how they walk, sit and stand. This is the combination of attitude and posture: what the person feels and believes on the inside manifests what becomes visible on the outside.
Posture fuels form with deliberate action. It’s driven by emotion and the desire to excel. Cues to serve as that fuel speak to all the senses; they use visualization, reflection and motivation to unlock peak performance. Here are some examples for cueing posture to achieve action:
- Feel your connection to the bike and your breath
- Enter this challenge with strong conviction
- Tap into the strength of your greatest achievement so far in life
- Small hinges swing big doors, make one small shift
- Reasons reap results: why are you here?
- Work is love made visible; the more you love the challenge the more it rewards you
- The product is only as good as the process that created it
- With patience and persistence, mastery is achieved
- The fire inside must rage stronger than the fire outside
- The expenditure of energy reaps results – feel the power generated!
- Recuperation is key; refresh, refuel for the next effort
Combining cues and coaching for form, alignment and posture not only creates proper mechanics and greater perception and motivation, but they help riders achieve one more critical aspect to achievieng peak performance: being present.
Presence clears mind chatter and distractions. It enables attention to physical and mental detail. When riders are present, they are naturally more perceptive. They can achieve greater insight and clarity around their goals and the drive behind those goals. They are more receptive to your cues and coaching and more likely to achieve peak performance.
Rounding out your cuing repertoire to include form, alignment and posture is the winning trifecta that leads to the Holy Grail of instructing: motivated, confident, present riders aligned properly and consistently riding with good form.
Play with your cues – use metaphors, use science, use whatever you can to help your riders feel alignment and efficiency; to feel engagement and action both physically and mentally. These will seamlessly lead to presence, greater perception, peak performance and powerful rides.
Be open and Stay Awesome!