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Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero
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They say “narrow is aero,” and I’m looking for advice for how to get comfortable with my arm pads closer together.

My arm pads are ridiculously far apart, so much so that I had to order a special accessory kit for my Speedmax, and now as a result my arm pads interfere with my hand/wrist position on the bullhorns. I’m not an especially big guy (155lbs, 5’11”, size 40 jacket, 30 in waist), so clearly it’s a flexibility issue.

When my pads are reasonably close together (stock width), I’d describe the pain/fatigue I experience to be the deep shoulder muscle behind my deltoids (superspinatus, infraspunatus, teres major, and teres minor). Perhaps interestingly, I’ve had overuse swimming injuries in the past and it was these same muscles that were irritated. The soreness/fatigue happens almost instantly, like I can barely stay aero for 5 min with stock pad width. My current position is comfortable enough (wide pads, s bend extensions turned inward, like a trinangle), but it’s kind of annoying to have the pads so wide and presumably I could be more comfortable in this or a narrower position by doing the right exercises.

How do I get narrow and aero?
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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A follow up to my own question:

Those of you in aggressive long-course TT positions, how did you get there? We’re you super flexible to start, or did you work into it? How long did it take? What did you do to make it happen?
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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I always thought I didn't have enough mobility to get in an aggressive TT position that I could maintain. Wrong. Having a good fitter is what did it for me. Shorter cranks allowed me to raise my seat heights. A good saddle got me rotating my pelvis correctly. Those two things allowed me to get lower and having more reach and tilted pads allowed my head to get in a super aero position while bringing my line of sight to a better position that alleviated neck pain.
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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I'm super narrow - my elbows are just about 3cm from touching each other. Never had to work at it, and have sustained it for over 4 hours nearly-continuous (e.g. just coming up for re-filling hydration, sharp turns).

It's impossible to tell without pictures, but from your description I suspect your issue may not be flexibility. But rather that you're engaging muscles to hold the position that you shouldn't have to engage. The TT position should be feel essentially neutral in terms of muscle engagement from the neck "down". If you're in the position on a trainer, it should feel nearly completely relaxed. No core muscles used. No shoulder muscles. The only thing that may take work is holding the head up, and more advanced things like shrugging the shoulders.

But it should feel like the weight of your upper body is mostly just resting naturally on your skeleton. So per the above poster it may be that saddle fore/aft, pad fore/aft, and saddle height may be the root cause, and trouble with pad center-to-center width may just be a symptom.

But just guessing based on how you phrased the issue.
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
If you're in the position on a trainer, it should feel nearly completely relaxed. No core muscles used. No shoulder muscles. The only thing that may take work is holding the head up, and more advanced things like shrugging the shoulders.

^^^This!

Important to tune into your body and release any unneeded tension. Some positions/postures are more conducive to shrugging and keeping the head low than others.
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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I think you just need to do the arm across the chest stretch a couple times per day.

Some boxing training might help as well. Shelling up in boxing is basically the aero position standing up. Elbows and wrists are close/touching.
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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I'll second the idea of shorter cranks and fit.
I'm 5'11" 85kg and my cda is 0.21.
I do some back strengthening exercises. Dead lift, rows etc and for flexibility I like to use hand wraps and hang from the chin up bar.
It can take some work but I was able to drop into a flat back and narrow arms quite easily so some of your ability is just the hand your dealt.
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Re: Mobility exercises to get more narrow/aero [bluntandy] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks. I'll try this.

I'm running a 165 crank now. I was fit by someone supposedly quite good, but I think I finally need to get down to LA to see Jim M, once and for all.
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