One of the bits of advice I have had from the physiotherapist is to try and keep active during my cycling injury rehabilitation. Keep my heart rate up to help improve the blood flow to the healing olecranon fracture. The best thing, is they are happy for me to do that on Zwift!
This is has been a slightly delayed posted – as while I have had permission to get onto the Wahoo KICKR and go Zwifting, actually doing so turned out to be a much bigger step for me than I have considered!
Let me be honest, getting back on the bike, even though I was told I could use Zwift, was hard work. Not physically hard work, but mentally hard work. Even though the height increase for my elbow is only increased by about 1-2cm getting onto the KICKR, that’s still quite a height when you are one arm down, and feeling rather… vulnerable. I appreciate that the Wahoo KICKR is probably one of the most planted turbos you can buy, but my ability to move quickly, for example, to stop a fall, was almost zero. Combined with a lot of fear, this wasn’t a good way to try and get back on the bike in any shape or form!
It actually took me several weeks after I told I was allowed cycling indoors to actually pluck up the courage to get back on it. Just the mental concern of potentially falling off the trainer was very frightening, and I was surprised about the number of things which could trigger that fear response.
Fear was not something I was expecting to cause me any issues. It really struck home for me, that getting back on the bike would be as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge when watching TopGear. Sitting on the couch, watching Richard Hammond fall off his bike whilst racing through Russia was very unpleasant. Mentally not what I needed for my cycling injury rehabilitation
Even just this television fall had me wincing and turning away as if I’d just witnessed some sort of terrible car crash. I don’t think it’s melodramatic to say that after watching that episode the actual crash was on my mind a lot that evening. Lying in bed reliving the milliseconds that were the actual event, as daft as that may sound was actually the catalyst to get me back on the turbo trainer. Partially as I had been advised the cardiovascular exercise would be good for my cycling injury rehabilitation, but also because I thought it might help me get back onto the bike, eventually. To be clear, any form of cardiovascular exercise is useful post fracture, as it helps improve blood flow to the site. This is not limited to cycling injury rehabilitation, upper or lower leg injuries
Thankfully the Wahoo KICKR is built like a tank when I actually plucked up the courage to get back on the bike I knew I’d actually have to be trying to knock the bike over in order to get the turbo to move. But when has rational thought ever been able to overcome a fear?
Getting back on the bike
Basically I purchased the biggest, blacked, most over kill riser block I could find! The Cycleops Riser is built very much in the same philosophy as the Wahoo KICKR – “overkill or nothing”. As such this riser allows you a very stable base, and as a bonus also lets you chose three heights at which you want to position the front wheel
Physiotherapy on the bike.
Physiotherapy Bike Stretches
On my first KICKR ride, I noticed it was a stretch to reach the bars initially with my RIGHT hand.
In the above picture you can see how the arm doesn’t fully straighten when asked to, so leaving me to unconsciously bending over to cover the distance to the bars. Certainly this didn’t look like it was going to be compatible with getting out on the road again!
However, when stretching my RIGHT arm by using my good LEFT arm, the arm straightens much more than I can with the arm alone. I quickly realised the same thing was possible on the bike.
My holding onto the handle bars, I could push against, or down, from the arms forcing the arm to straighten. I would then be able to maintain this position for the recommended 3-4 minutes. After having completed a stretch in one position, I would then be able to stretch in another. effectively killing three birds with one stone:
– Helping me stretch without having to grip my fore-arm
– Getting back on the bike
– Performing stretches whilst also doing cardiovascular training.
Slowly but surely cycling injury rehabilitation is working!
I genuinely feel that the extra force I have been able to put through the arm to straighten it has had a great effect on the degree of extension I have managed to get back so far. Also by griping the bars firmly, both when doing my Zwift rehabilitation sessions I have found the grip in my RIGHT hand seems to have improved significantly as well. Using Zwift here has really been a great benefit to me mentally. The challenges and things, not that I’m really able to push hard currently, but they are meaning I’m actually wanting to spend time on Zwift and using the KICKR! This is something I’ve never experienced before!
Plus doing little spins of the island, is giving me something additional to aim for compared to just sitting spinning my legs for set time periods.
Hopefully I’ll be out on the bike for real before long!