Level of performance in all sports, to a large degree, depends on the mechanical efficiency and linearity of movement. By this I mean the joints in the human body must function around their anatomical neutral position in order to generate maximum power and postural stability.

An example of this principle is observed in bicyclists (See Animation below). The bicyclist is concerned with:

  • (1) establishing a solid foot to pedal position (e.g., "the sweet spot" where the foot functions around its anatomical neutral position) and 
  • (2) preventing any torsion or twisting in his feet, knees, or hips while bicycling (e.g., linearity of movement). 

If either of these two principles is compromised, the bicyclist level of performance dramatically suffers.

Bicycling Cross Country

Proprioceptive Stimulation Can Improve Linear Mechanics and Level of Performance

At a workshop for bicyclists in Bellevue, Washington, I noticed one particular athlete having a great deal of pain in his knees, especially when he would bicycle uphill.  Initially, he would spend several minutes before commencing his bicycling trying to find “the sweet spot” between his feet and the pedal, where he felt most stable.  Then as he started to bicycle, I observed that his feet and knees would twist inwardly, increasing in severity, as he used the the lower gears (e.g., more resistance between the foot and the pedal).

Basically, this athlete was having problems with his knees because his feet were twisting as he pushed against the pedals. This resulted in torsional mechanics.  With the athlete’s  permission, I placed a specific proprioceptive insole under his feet, which would decrease his foot twist, which in turn, decreased his knee twist.  He then repeated a 10 mile run, going up and down hills, without knee pain!

What does this show?

  • Torsional Mechanics = fatigue, weakness and loss of endurance
  • Linear Mechanics = power, strength and endurance 

The use of the correct proprioceptive insole takes the athlete from torsional to linear mechanics.

This is just one example of using proprioceptive stimulation to improve linear mechanics and resulting performance.