The Steve Hogg Bike Fitting Team
We are a team of like-minded bike fitters from around the world who are committed to advancing the art and science of bike fitting and who all use Steve Hogg’s proprietary fitting methods.
A number of key points need to be made at the outset…
A small imperfection in how you function or how you relate to your bike is repeated five to 10 thousand times (pedal revolutions), and becomes a minor discomfort. Repeat the action while applying force another 50 to 100 thousand times and it becomes an injury.
An individually optimal position minimises the chance of incurring overuse injuries.
Everyone is asymmetrical. You are more muscular on one side and the effects of handedness and footedness make you more facile on one side. Then there are left / right differences in flexibility and stability, facial asymmetries, postural distortions and more. Bike related issues of discomfort or injury always stem from the fundamental mismatch that occurs when an asymmetrical rider applies force while more or less locked into a fixed relationship with a positionally symmetrical bicycle.
We improve your symmetry before you get on your bike using proprietary IP (Intellectual Property), developed by us.
Any challenge to a cyclist’s position in space over a bike will be unconsciously met with a compensatory response. All compensatory responses work by increasing the difference between left and right side function.
Human central nervous systems [brain and spine] are incredibly adept at working around sub optimal function or a sub optimal relationship with the bike. A common example amongst many that may occur: Raise your seat a little too high. You will not sit squarely on the seat and equally overextend each leg. At an unconscious level, you will pick a side to protect by dropping or rotating that hip forward to reduce the reach to the pedal. Meanwhile your other leg has to reach even further to the pedal and the plane of movement of the hip, knee and ankle of that side is constantly challenged. There is a near infinite range of compensatory response patterns; functional, neurological and positional; with overall pattern being unique to each individual.
Our view of bike fitting is that in many ways, it is an exercise in ‘decompensation’ of the individual. An optimal position gives the rider the greatest degree of functional symmetry on their bike.
No muscle will fire unless a signal arrives from the central nervous system at the right time in the sequence of muscle firing activity that we call cycling. Anything that can be done to enhance or clarify the flow of neural information around the body is a positive for cycling performance and injury reduction. This is not a given. The muscle firing sequence needed for cycling is based on a constant flow of neural information from the parts of the body involved in applying force to the pedals. Humans did not evolve to cycle and this feedback process is always compromised to individually varying degrees.
We use patented IP (Intellectual Property) developed by us to optimise the processing of neural information of this type, resulting in enhanced neuromuscular coordination of the pedaling action.
Those who experience pain, discomfort or lack of performance will already be aware of this. Those who don’t will not, but will still have avoidable limitations on performance. There is a variety of limitations that you may not be aware of. They include common postural distortions, less than ideal stability and flexibility and one that everyone experiences – less than ideal unconscious awareness of what the feet are doing while applying force to the pedals. This requires more explanation.
Firstly, cycling is largely an unconscious process. Yes, you consciously decide to move up in the bunch, brake, accelerate and more; but once these decisions are made you don’t consciously decide what muscles to fire to accomplish those tasks. The unconscious muscle firing sequence that allows you to do what you consciously decide to do is controlled by the cerebellum as it responds to a constant flow of neural feedback from the body; three-billion signals per second. The key point to understand is that every second three-billion signals are generated and all arrive at the cerebellum but a human cerebellum has a maximum processing capacity of only two-thousand signals per second, a paltry .000067 percent of the total.
Evolution has dictated an effective hierarchy of priorities as to what signal traffic is prioritised for processing and what is ignored. One of the matters that will always be prioritised for processing is any change in plantar fascia tension (tendon layer under the arch that connects calcaneus (heel bone) to the five MTP joints (joints at the base of each toe)). It is the change in tension that allows this feedback from the arch of the foot to stand out from all of the background “chatter.”
When walking and running, activities that we have evolved to perform, arch tension changes constantly because foot shape is changing constantly. In contrast, when performing an activity we have not evolved for, pushing on a rigid cycling shoe sole while applying force to the pedals; arch tension changes little if at all. The cerebellum tends to ignore these constant, unvarying stimuli from the arches of the feet while pedaling. This presents a challenge to our position in space… Which as mentioned above, is met by an instant compensatory response… Which increases differences between left and right side function.
We use patented methods, only available to us to restore the prioritising of processing of plantar fascia tension by the cerebellum. This causes many on bike asymmetries to moderate and sometimes, to resolve completely.
To counter what has been listed above we have developed and practice Limitation Based Fitting. There are several steps involved.
More than 95 percent of cyclists have a Lateral Pelvic Tilt which means one side of the pelvis sits higher than the other. This is a big deal because one way or another, every part of the body is negatively impacted on by the LPT. Each leg reaches a different distance and each hip, knee and ankle work through differing planes. A chain of muscle imbalances is created all the way up the spine which, in turn affects head carriage, relative shoulder height and much more.
We use proprietary IP developed by us to correct pelvic alignment without pain or discomfort. The process takes several minutes and is semi-permanent.
A detailed functional and neurological assessment is conducted to find out what you can and can’t do, and if you can’t, why you can’t. Armed with this information we then can understand the individual picture of your limitations.
Keeping the background information gained in Step Two in mind we then arrive at as functionally symmetrical as possible position for you on your bike. A quality position means fluent delivery of power to the pedals, a relaxed and comfortable upper body and fullest ability to breathe to capacity under load.
Just as each cyclist is unique in their proportions, global function and pattern of limitations, each fitting solution is unique. We don’t have a fixed order of changes or a set starting point. We adopt an individual approach based on the “Worst First” principle. Limitations have hierarchies. By tackling the worst limitations first, often lesser limitations are resolved at the same time. Limitations cause compensatory responses, all of which are additional limitations of themselves. We then proceed to tackle any remaining, smaller limitations.
The only part of the process every fitting does have is a guarantee that no other fitting service can offer – your money back if you do not see an improvement in your comfort and efficiency on the bike after six weeks of riding in your new position. Remember:
COMFORT + EFFICIENCY = PERFORMANCE
- We differ in our approach from much of the bike fitting industry. We developed and use “Limitation Based Fitting.”
- We are different from the start of each fit, using methods and systems developed and patented by us. We focus first on central nervous system efficiency as this is fundamental to effective cycling performance.
- Then we apply other proprietary and patented IP developed by Steve Hogg that allows us to identify and address issues – even before the rider may have recognised them.
- All elements of our fitting methodology are designed to be used as needed – rather than systematised – to ensure problems are corrected in the right sequence for the individual.
- There are not many of us. Each of us has trained successfully with Steve over several weeks or months in Australia. Not hours or days. Even so, less than 10 percent of applicants are accepted and a lesser number again successfully complete the training. Critically, one key measure of evaluation is the understanding that our approach to bike fitting is constantly evolving and all of us have the desire to work together to push established boundaries.
- We believe that real bike fitting requires an average appointment time of four hours, sometimes more. You are individual. It takes that length of time to assess and address your limitations. For instance, you might be experiencing knee pain while cycling. There are more than a dozen causes of knee pain and many more combinations of causes again.
- We offer a money back if not happy guarantee because we strive for excellence. We feel that our task isn’t completed until you are satisfied.