A common myth in cycling is that the hip flexors are responsible for pulling up on the pedal on the upstroke – something Burt debunks in Bike Fit.
However, while Burt says the importance of the hip flexors is often overstated, there are still problems associated with the hips and pelvis and a bad bike fit.
Too aggressive a position, for example one classically adopted by a time triallist, can cause vascular problems that not only affect power output but can also be dangerous.
“Opening up the hips is important,” Burt explains. “It’s a relaxed position at the front end of the bike that you are looking for.”
It is not to say you shouldn’t get aero or put on TT bars, but more that your position should keep the hips open to prevent the potentially dangerous carotid artery kinking.
“Some people are predisposed to [kinking] but it comes more with a more aggressive position,” he adds. “What will happen is the artery will start to kink and you will experience pain, and/or numbness, and/or loss of power down one leg.
“It’s a high-end specialist case but you can put the warning signs out there. It’s a dangerous condition to push on with and people shouldn’t push on with it.”
If you feel better as soon as you get off the bike, it is usually a vascular issue and you should look to open your position up – reducing crank length, moving cleat position back, or sitting higher and more forward in the saddle.
It is also recommended, if you think you are suffering from kinking, to seek out medical help as the condition could signal the end of a cycling career if not treated correctly – though Burt is keen to stress it is a rare case.
If hip or pelvis pain is neural in nature (i.e. it affects a nerve), then the irritation will not ease once you get off the bike, and Burt says it could point to issues like piriformis syndrome or sciatica.