The Performance Matrix

Cycling and The Performance Matrix by Jacob Wijnstra

19th December 2011

Jacob Wijnstra, The Netherlands

Fysiotherapie Van Loo en Veerhoek


In the past there was only one way for cyclists to be busy with their sport: that was by riding their bikes! In recent years there has been a major change, and now professional athletes have started to work on their 'core'. Right now you’re not taken serious as a competitive cyclist unless you say (at least twice a week on twitter!) that you do ‘core-stability’.

And this is where Performance Stability Movement Retraining comes in. As a physiotherapist I use The Performance Matrix Movement and Performance Screen to identify weak links and from this plan a specific exercise programme. Many cyclists doing ‘core-training’ use standard core stability exercises from the internet or a trainer. These exercises are usually high load exercises and from a generic group. So using The Performance Matrix is a new experience, because it helps devise athlete specific exercises.

Posture related in cyclists are common because these athletes usually ride their bike for periods of between 2 and 4 hours in the same (flexed) position. The most common injuries I find in cycling are:

  • pain in the lower back
  • pain in the knees knees
  • shoulder injuries usually are traumatic
  • sometimes  neck and wrists pain occur, but these are often linked to the set up of the bike (i.e. saddle height, frame length etc.).

The Foundation Matrix Movement & Performance Screen commonly highlights weak links in the back i.e uncontrolled lumbopelvic extension and rotation. This pattern is often seen in cyclist with pain and retraining these uncontrolled movements is linked with an improvement in symptoms. This follows a logical pattern - in this the flexed position the oblique muscles do not contribute to movement control and the gluteal muscles maintained in a lengthened position. These muscles are important in controlling lumbopelvic extension and rotation and need to be retrained if a movement impairment is identified.

Another common uncontrolled movement (weak link) highlighted by The Foundation Matrix is hip medial rotation. (I note this also with Retül, a 3D analyzing system for posture on the bike). Gluteus medius is an important muscle to train here.

The Movement & Performance Screens have given me a tool to identity weak links (uncontrolled movement) in cyclists and the report helps me to design an individual programme using Performance Stability principles

Picture: A cyclist of the Vacansoleil cycling team retraining control of lumbopelvic extension

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