Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's More Than Just Riding

As cyclists become tired during rides, they tend to slump, resulting in back and shoulder pain. Developing your abdominal muscles will help support you and maintain proper form. Part of my training regimen that coach John Hughes has provided me are three off the bike routines included in my weekly ride schedule. The three areas include core strength exercises, strength exercises, and stretching after almost all rides. 
The following information and specifics on strength and stretching can be found at Coach Hughes Website  

To achieve full potential as an endurance cyclist and be successful in challenging events, a cyclist should incorporate a strength training program.  Strength training is any activity that overloads muscles more than on the road bike, thus resulting in strength gains. Strength training does not necessarily require special equipment, or long hours in the gym.

Strength training can have five benefits for the endurance cyclist:

  1. Increasing core strength and creating a stable platform for pedaling power.
  2. Developing leg muscle strength, which can be turned into increased power on the bike.
  3. Improving the balance among muscle groups, resulting in increased pedaling economy and efficiency.
  4. Strengthening connective tissues, to reduce the risk of injury .
  5. Improving upper body endurance and comfort on the bike.
As we ride, our muscles tighten and then start to hurt.  Focusing on these simple areas to stretch,  done at a rest stop or after a workout, will loosen you up and relieve the pain. 

The key seven areas.  The first three are muscles that are prone to cramping while bicycling. Stretching the muscles will lengthen them and reduce the probability of cramps on the bicycle.
  1. Gastrocnemius (calf) and Achilles
  2. Quadriceps
  3. Hamstrings
  4. Back
  5. Gluteals (butt)
  6. Soleus (lower part of calf)
  7. Hip flexors