Influence of Hamstring Muscles Extensibility on Spinal Curvatures and Pelvic Tilt in Highly Trained Cyclists

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Jose M. Muyor, Fernando Alacid, Pedro A. Lopez-Minarro

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of hamstring muscles extensibility in standing, maximal trunk flexion with knees extended and on the bicycle in lower handlebar-hands position of highly trained cyclists. Ninety-six cyclists were recruited for the study (mean ± SD, age: 30.36 ± 5.98 years). Sagittal spinal curvatures and pelvic tilt were measured in the standing position, maximal trunk flexion with knees extended (sit-and-reach test) and while sitting on a bicycle in lower handlebar-hand position using a Spinal Mouse system. Hamstring muscles extensibility was determined in both legs by passive straight leg raise test (PSLR). The sample was divided into three groups according to PSLR angle: (1) reduced extensibility (PSLR < 80º; n = 30), (2) moderate hamstring extensibility group (PSLR = 80º – 90º; n = 35), and (3) high hamstring extensibility (PSLR = > 90º; n = 31). ANOVA analysis showed significant differences among groups for thoracic (p < 0.001) and pelvic tilt (p < 0.001) angles in the sit-and-reach test. No differences were found between groups for standing and on the bicycle position. Post hoc analysis showed significant differences in all pairwise comparisons for thoracic angle (p < 0.01) and pelvic angle (p < 0.001) in the sit-and-reach test. No differences were found in lumbar angle in any posture. In conclusion, the hamstring muscles extensibility influence the thoracic and pelvic postures when maximal trunk flexion with knees extended is performed, but not when cyclists are seated on their bicycles.
DOI: 10.2478/v10078-011-0035-8
Key words
straight leg raise, sit-and-reach, posture, spine, cycling

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