Aaron Ross, CEO and Master Bike Fitter of Link talks about hip rotation in cycling. He demonstrates how improper hip rotation on the saddle can create a loss of power, pressure in the back, spine, hands, and arms.
A lot of cyclists don't know what hip rotation entails.
When a cyclist is riding, we want their hip angle to be rotated. So, the sit bones are not actually sitting on the saddle. We want more of the ischium to contact the saddle and most saddles or bike seats are designed to work this way. If we have someone on a mountain bike vs a road bike, their hip rotation is going to be dependent upon their equipment, the person, and their bike geometry.
If a person under-rotates or rotates posteriorly, we see them sitting very vertical, the pedal stroke is choppy and there is a lot of weight on the hands and feet. The spine can be rolled out creating pressure in the lower back. The core is also not engaged. This is a very inefficient position, and we see this a lot in the fit lab.
This position isn't as common, but the person may experience a lot of pressure on the front of the saddle. There's not a lot of bone contact in this position as it is all soft tissue. There's a lot of weight on the hands, feet, and spine along with the core not engaging.
Correct hip rotation
With correct hip rotation, we can see the athlete now has a core that is engaged, they are weighing the seat properly, and have good hip support that is supporting the body weight. The shoulders are more relaxed, and the feet can just push through the pedal stroke. The larger muscle groups are now being used which makes them more comfortable, efficient, and powerful.