tense shoulders

I’m trying to build up the distance that I unicycle for. I think I’ve got the thing about sitting down in the seat. My problem is that I tense my shoulders, especially the right one (which sorts of points in the direction that I want to go). My shoulders get quite sore, ofcourse.
Any advice on helping me to relax my shoulders.
PS I know the advice that goes - practice, practice, practice - I’m looking for short cuts here!!?

The best short cut would be to work the muscles that are getting sore. That will make them stronger and less likely to be sore after your in shape. Cross training is invaluable in many sports.
Good luck!

First, stretch before and after you ride - especially windmill and helicopter stretches for your shoulders.

Second, when you are riding on smoother surfaces, spend some time riding with your arms up; I lock my fingers behind my head. You can even do the periodic windmill stretch. (I also practice riding with my hands together behind my back.)

Third, stretch your neck before and after you ride.

IMHO: it’s all about stretching.

Try shaking out your arms as you ride; that seems to help me.

Re: tense shoulders

On Wed, 4 May 2005 16:31:31 -0500, “cathwood” wrote:

>my shoulders, especially the right one (which sorts of points in the
>direction that I want to go).

Does that mean that the right shoulder sort of points forward if you
ride just straight? That’s bad, you should be symmetrical and relaxed.
Rather than stretching etc, I suggest you work on relaxing while
riding. That should prevent the problem rather than curing it
afterwards. I don’t know how though, maybe just a conscious effort
would help?

If you feel you would veer off a straight course when relaxing and not
having one shoulder forward, that can have a variety of causes

  • seat not aligned
  • something else crooked on your uni
  • a tyre with one or several center ridges in the thread
  • road crown (side slope)
  • wind
  • uneven leg length
  • funny riding surface

Preventive remedies:
** For the first two the remedy is obvious.

  • For the third, try more pressure. But usually a better tyre is the
    answer. Centre ridges are fine for low rolling resistance (I think)
    but bad for unicycles.
  • Number 4: it can help to relocate laterally on the
    road/path/whatever. Crown is usually not constant across the whole
    width of the riding surface. Mind your safety though.
  • Number 5: pick another day, or ride into another direction; side
    wind obviously is worse than head wind or tail wind.
  • Number 6: you probably have to live with; surgery in extreme cases.
  • Last one: don’t ride on carpet.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“When it comes to the family jewels, you won’t be having fun until they’re having fun. - Jake D”

I’ve just checked out my Uni, doesn’t seem to be anything crooked (although sometimes it does feel like it),
my tyres are hookworm & newish, they look OK to me,
the wind yesterday was fairly light and I was riding along quite a flat/smooth surface.
So either my legs are different lenghts and I’ve never noticed or I’ve got into a bad habit. I was riding along yesterday saying “relax your shoulders, relax your shoulders” to myself.
I seems to be something that happens more on my 24" than my 20" so I’m wondering if it’s something to do with the fear of falling off.
So my new plan of action - stretch before I begin (although I do conscioulsy relax before I get on the uni - I find it easier to feemount when I do), consciously relax while I’m riding and see how it goes.
Any other ideas would be appreciated.
Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

you will naturally have a side which is predominant. I find that I can ride symetrical in good conditions.

Under stress the predominant side will come to fore. The first time that you do a particular ride ie Muni ride, you are under stress. Do the same ride a few times and the stress should decrease.

Then try relaxing your upper body (and all body), try to be symetrical.

Also do some gym work like delt raises both lateral and fore. A light dumbell and say 10 to 15 reps and work up to 3 sets. Stand on a wobble board at the same time!

Jeez this sound complicated

I’d recommend that you practice turning a lot (ride in figure-8s). Ride more. Remember to relax (or pull your elbows down, stretching the shoulders).

Let me throw out my thougths in addition to what Klaas Bil posted.

I get a bit tense sometimes when I try to ride a straight line for a long distance. To relieve this I intentionally ride an “un-straight” line. Providing conditions allow, I ride a gentle curving line from side to side as I go. I zigzag about 3 or 4 feet to either side of my “center” line of travel. That makes me practice left and right turning and helps me relax. Turn your shoulders as you go.

amen to both of those
also spend some time focussing on your pedalling motion
if u step down too hard on the pedals as they start their downward motion, u run the risk of causing the uni to turn (slightly) in that direction
the shoulder turn is then a natural reaction in an attempt to correct the (pedal-caused) problem

make sure that u roll the pedals over easily and gently without too much of a ‘stomp-down’ as the go down the front

u may want to make sure that u don’t practise a bad habit
when u’re riding and u start to twist, stop, get off, remount and ride off

just some thoughts

Thanks for all that great advice.
Went out tonight and rode figure 8’s until they were really smooth.
Then focused on relax the shoulders, when they were really relaxed and I sat square - UPD. Do focused on the pedals. Thought I could detect more pressure on the right pedal. Worked on this. Got smoother.
Eventually I think I really got it - riding felt much smoother. No shoulder ache tonight.
Thanks again everybody.

do u have other people to ride with in your area?

Not many. Very rural area.
However there is one other in North Wales who I can ride with. We’re arranging a unimeet in a town called Rhyl to see if we can meet up with anyone else from around here.
So I’m working on it.

kewl site
don’t u think unicycling deserves it’s own section by now?
it looks frightfully lost in there with the ‘Other Fun Stuff’

my gf’s gran was from that Ponty place that causes me to spit out my toffee when i try 'n say it
the gf can sing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau and actually say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch
(without spitting out any toffees)

Plaid Cymru

Small world (creepy co-incidence). I grew up in Llanfairpwll…!!!
Anyway, unicycle section is definately under construction and hopefully will be done in the next couple of weeks once I’ve finished some stuff for college.
Glad you liked the site.

Re: tense shoulders

On Sat, 7 May 2005 04:47:47 -0500, “cathwood” wrote:

>Small world (creepy co-incidence). I grew up in

Hey you’re cheating :-). The place has a longer name than that.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“When it comes to the family jewels, you won’t be having fun until they’re having fun. - Jake D”

That may be, but we don’t actually USE it. It’s just for the tourists.