General flexibility vs on-the-bike position

Summary -
I work on my flexibility but I remain pretty inflexible, I run an aggressive position on my bike and have no issues despite being inflexible. Should I be concerned about injuries despite being comfortable?

Long story -
So I’d consider myself a VERY inflexible (unflexible?) person, I’ve never been able to touch my toes, even as a kid, and can’t do a lot of basic yoga poses properly due to being so stiff. However, I’ve been slowly tweaking my position on the bike over the past 2 or so years whilst including stretches/basic yoga sessions additional once per week.

Although i’ve seen significant improvements to my on-the-bike position w/o any discomfort, my general flexibility hasn’t really seen much of an improvement, one major benchmark for this is the fact that the distance away (very far) from me touching my toes hasn’t really changed, but pretty much all positions remain the same too.

My position -
So I’m 5’9 @ 175cm
My saddle to bar drop has creeped up to 14cm but my position is pretty much on the hoods, invisible aero bars for flats, or hoods w/ arms folded 90 degrees saving the drops for descents or rough roads.
Disclaimer - this isn’t a ‘race’ position as I use this bike for 5-10 hour rides regularly. So its not a short term position like one would get into for a TT or a race. I wouldn’t do this if I wasn’t comfortable.

Questions -
What do you guys think? How does on-the-bike position compare to these general benchmarks I use to compare my flexibility and maybe I am missing the bigger picture? Am I better off putting my bars higher even though I don’t feel any discomfort at the moment?
Also any tips to make improvements on my general flexibility is welcome!


Interested as well.
Like you I have the flexibility of a lamp post and I’m surprised to hear you were able to improve your position on the bike somehow.

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Not sure if I missed it, but are you doing any of the TrainerRoad workouts or plans? If so, maybe you’re adopting this additional flexibility from doing these (especially those with on-screen text instructions to get into a more “aero” position)? In my case, I gained some additional flexibility and comfort in a lower/aero position over time with the above.

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IMO, if you’re looking to improve general flexibility stretching or yoga one day a week probably isn’t going to have much impact. I’m not sure what the threshold is though. I ride every day and do a 10-15min stretching session after each ride. Not because of perceived recovery benefits, just because being flexible improves my quality of life. When I’ve taken breaks from riding one or the things I notice early on is decreased quality of life as my flexibility decreases.

I’m not sure how directly comparable general flexibility is with handlebar drop, though I imagine some is required. My drop is 4cm less than yours but I am more flexible (standing I can almost touch my knuckles to the ground.) I imagine some combination of arm length, torso length, pelvic rotation, general flexibility and other things are involved in both your general flexibility benchmark as well as on the bike position. Maybe your hamstrings are as flexible as mine and you have the same pelvic rotation but I have shorter legs, longer arms and a longer torso?

If you’re comfortable for 5-10 hours, why change it?

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Flexibility and the ability to hold a position are very different things. In general flexibility allows you more range of motion but it requires strength in order to make any use of the range of motion.

It sounds like the effective range of motion you use on the bike is more than adequately strong so any extra flexibility and strength is just a bonus.

Fwiw I’m quite flexible but muscle endurance to hold an aggressive position for >1hr can be questionable


Not doing TR workouts, I do a lot of outdoor riding and gradually improved my ability to sustain aero positions (puppy paws). Started out with my wrists on the bars and now at a point that my elbows or chin can touch the bars, for short periods of time. So definitely an improvement in flexibility but I wonder if its just my lower back handling more of the stress rather than my hips etc. the ‘right’ kind of flexibility.

There are a few bad ways you can keep your hips more open to hold such a position while inflexible.

One is to tilt your seat forward, so your hip is more open. Is your seat level? I am not sure all the issues a tilted forward seat might cause, but it will cause excess weight on your hands.

Another is to sit way forward on the seat, on the narrower part. That’s going to concentrate stress on your sensitive bits and restrict blood flow. This is bad.

A third is to have your hips rotated way forward, so you aren’t sitting on your sit bones. This is bad for the same reasons as above.

I suspect that you have one or more of the above going on. It’s highly unlikely that your sit bones are in good contact with your seat, because that requires your hips to be more or less vertical and your lower back to flex. You also want your hips not to rock.

If you can take some video from the side showing you in your typical riding position and post it, you could get some feedback on the above. Or see a bike filter.

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You just described me…we are practically twins. Same height, ~same saddle-to-HB drop, same position (on hoods mostly), and absolutely the same lack of flexibility.

I know I’m aero AF…my buddies hate being behind me when the hammer drops because there is little draft and my power is so much lower.

Contrary to popular opinion, obtaining a good / aero position really isn’t about flexibility, but hip rotation. If you can rotate your hips forward, you can low and aero.

So why change anything…I’ve been in the same position roughly for 30+ years (currently 55 YO) and I think I have stretched regularly never as it pertains to the bike ( did some for running injury rehab).

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Thats impressive you can hold that position at 55! I hope I can remain as flexible in 20 years time!

Yes - it is fun being quite light and aero, I love just sitting behind a bigger rider and you can really feel the draft, barely have to pedal! - except on Zwift where I barely can compete in a flat ‘B’ race doing 4.5wpkg just to stay in the main group :confused:

Bike fitter for sure but its out of the question atm, I will once I move and start my new job in September.
I do think I sit quite forward on the nose of the saddle when I’m in my invisible TT position, there isn’t too much weight on my ‘bits’ as I’m usually putting 250+W when in that position.

I am quite comfortable on my saddle if anything, and my seat is completely level - I’ll send a video during my next training session and hopefully we can see where I can improve.

I did write this post when I further lowered my stem by 0.4mm - it’s final form with a slammed headset cover and a 100mm -10 stem. So yes to see if I’ve reached my aero limits yet - time will tell - but did a workout yesterday and felt normal but it was only an hour.

Big question, your age. As I aged I developed a host of issues from not addressing some basic flexibility. I eventually learned everything is connected so a basic yoga routine has dramatically improved my flexibility as well as my comfort on longer rides. Age is 60 now.

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But I’m not flexible…I can barely touch my shins, let alone my toes. It is all hip rotation.

I’m 25! But always had back issues growing up and when I started cycling 5 years ago. But incorporating maintenance routine after workouts has helped even tho I’ve witnessed ‘improvements’ generally.

How do I improve hip rotation?? :laughing:

I want the aeroz too.

If you think of a having a big dial around your hip, you want to rotate that dial forward. All your body angles can remain the same, you are just rotating that same position around the bottom bracket, using your hips as the point of rotation.

You’ll want some of your saddle pressure to shift from your sit bones forward. For that reason, a lot of people will want / need a new saddle…a snub-nosed saddle like the Specialized Power saddle is a popular option. But as noted, I have had that position for decades, long before the development of those saddles…and successfully fathered 3 children. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Some people talk about trying to touch their bellybutton to the top tube, but IMO that just leads to people bending over more at the waist instead of rotating.

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Above comments are all good. Something to add - I disagree that bike positioning is about flexibility unless taken to extremes. I don’t know of many positions on a bike for people without physical/mechanical limitations (I’m thinking fused spinal column or hip dysplasia or something like that) that are impossible for them simply to get into as would be the case for “flexibility” problems. It’s rarely a problem for someone to get into the position they need to be on the bike…it’s usually a problem for them to stay in that position, for that position to be joint-pain-free, or to put power down in that position. These really aren’t flexibility issues, they are strength issues.

Speaking from personal experience, my aero stance on the bike has improved a lot since I started doing deadlifts and back squats. Previously I could get into the position no problem, but my power suffered big time. Now I am able to get into a compact position and still put regular power down.

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