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Old 08-23-2016, 11:41 AM
mwynne mwynne is offline
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Hand position/placement on hoods

Looking over all the hand/finger numbness threads that crop up, and doing some other reading, I'm just generally curious about different people's set up.

I see lots of reference to "neutral" hand/wrist position, but no real explanation of that. The wrist is such a mobile joint, I'm not really sure where "neutral" is.

I personally get fluctuating numbness in my fingers (all of them, but not consistently). I'm on 10-speed campy hoods, tend to use a minimal-to-moderate wrap, and minimally padded gloves. I find I naturally gravitate to riding just maybe 1cm back of the hoods (regardless of stem length), mostly supported by the meat of my thumb. Rotating up and more gripping the hood with weight supported along the outer edge of my palm is not uncomfortable, but definitely doesn't feel natural.

I guess the short question is how to define a "neutral" starting place for assessing hand position, and are there any good resources for looking at hand/bar/hood interaction.
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Old 08-29-2016, 04:20 PM
benb benb is offline
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I've had some trouble and have had to experiment and been to a few doctors appointments.

Your wrist has several axes, deviation is when you move away from neutral.

- Ulnar/Medial deviation.. easiest way to visualize this is what you do on a non ergonomic computer keyboard. Ulnar deviation means if you hold your hand out in front of you palm down you bed the wrist towards the side of the pinky. Medial means bend it towards thumb side. This happens on a bike in the following ways:

- Hoods too low on the bars - ulnar deviation
- Hoods too high on the bars - medial deviation
- Drops at wrong angle or too low - medial deviation
- Flat section of bar with no sweep - likely some medial deviation

Getting the bars at the right height, hoods at the right height on the bars, and rotation of the bar in the stem right will keep your wrist neutral. Pretty challenging IMO to get it all right on a road bike. Kind of hurts the claims of drop bars being better ergonomically.

- Extension/Flexion. Hold your hand out in front palm down. Now move your wrist so your palm is facing out away from you. That's Extension. Move your wrist so your palm is facing you, that's flexion. On a road handlebar you can end up extended/flexed in several ways:

- Hoods rotated outward - extension/dorsiflexion (really bad)
- Hoods rotated drastically inward - flexion
- Bars too low/off balance - lots of riders extend the wrist like they're doing pushups (really bad)
- Flat section of bar and too much weight on the bar, again you're likely to extend the wrist
- Flat bar (MTB) with hand controls rotated badly on the bar - could cause flexion or extension

- Supination/Pronation this is how you twist your wrist when turning a door handle. Not really sure this is a huge issue biking unless you have bars with weird flare. Hoods put this axis in the neutral position. Flat bars you pronate the wrist.

Pretty important stuff if your wrist hurts. If you grab a tool like a hammer/axe/whatever and tighten up your wrist will lock into a neutral position which is very strong and possibly rotate the tool into alignment. When you lock onto a bar that's badly positioned you can't rotate the entire bike with your wrist so you end up stretching something.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:58 AM
mwynne mwynne is offline
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Benb, that is really really helpful. Gives me a great place to start by isolating a few different metrics...

Follow-up, do people ride with a grip on their hoods the bulk of the time, or hands resting on hoods....

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Old 08-30-2016, 10:32 AM
benb benb is offline
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I try to stay relaxed as much as possible these days, even hitting bumps. Particularly when I got hurt I developed this bad habit of tightening up my grip as if to protect my wrists... it makes things worse. Even hitting really hard bumps on a MTB it doesn't really do much good to over tighten your grip. You need just enough to hold onto the bars, relaxing doesn't make you go out of control or anything if everything else is correct.

I've also had issues where I'm pulling really hard on the bars. Particularly when sitting it doesn't accomplish much and you can destroy the muscles in your forearms and upper back. Then the muscles get exhausted and tighten up and leave you vulnerable to injuries. We're not really made to pull/push hard on things that don't move for very long.

Make sure you've got the saddle in the right place so you're balanced but then start thinking about aligning all this stuff.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:56 PM
mwynne mwynne is offline
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Still trying to get my saddle placement dialled as well, I seem to be a constant scoot/shuffle/fidgeter (working on some pretty sad core strength as well), but this really does help give me some troubleshooting areas to focus on. Thanks!

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  #6  
Old 09-25-2016, 07:28 AM
Marcovelo Marcovelo is offline
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My bike fitter explained neutral wrist position as follows: hold out your hand as if to shake hands. Hand is in line with forearm with respect to Palm/ back of hand, thumb/ pink. I have found that it takes a bit of time to strengthen hand for this to be comfortable, but one there I can ride for hours with in this position.
Also, dome core strength and arm/ chest strength goes a long way. The whole chain as they say
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:22 AM
Vera J. Hogue Vera J. Hogue is offline
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There are three basic hand positions for riding a road bike. The position that you spend most time in is with your hands on th 'hoods' that cover the brake levers. Most riders find this the most comfortable position for long periods, riding in a group, etc. The hoods sit between your thumb and index finger, giving you good access to the brakes and changers. This is also the most common position when you are standing up on the pedals because it is the most stable. At slower speeds and when climbing, it is common to move to a more upright position, with an overhand grip on the flat part of the bars quite close to the centre stem. You don't have easy access to the brakes, but that is less important when going uphill and it gives you greater leverage to pull with your arms into your pedal stroke. The third main position is with your hands on the 'drops', the bottom part of the bars. This can be a difficult position for long periods, but is the most aerodynamic. Useful for when it is your turn at the front of the bunch, or you are riding at higher speeds on your own.
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:08 AM
belopsky belopsky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwynne View Post
Still trying to get my saddle placement dialled as well, I seem to be a constant scoot/shuffle/fidgeter (working on some pretty sad core strength as well), but this really does help give me some troubleshooting areas to focus on. Thanks!

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And is the seat right for your sit bones? (width, that is)
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2016, 01:47 PM
mwynne mwynne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belopsky View Post
And is the seat right for your sit bones? (width, that is)
Good question, and I don't have a good answer. Haven't done a proper measure, just ongoing adjustments, swapping sizes and models over the years.

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