- Stretching and mobility
- Foam rolling and soft tissue release techniques
- Strength and conditioning
Cycling season is well under way; many of us will be attacking those long, hot rides in search for a fitter, healthier body. (Not to mention fighting for new strava positions!) Time in the saddle is taxing on the entire body, if you don’t believe me please be sure to watch how the GC riders are aided off their bikes post stage!
We will be focussing on best preparation of our bodies for steep climbs and the recovery process to ensure we keep strong into the last miles of a ride. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist these tips and home exercises can be used to keep at bay any aches and pains and therefore achieve greater stamina and performance.
Continue reading to avoid this kind of demoralising finish!
Basic rules for on the bike:
- Ensure bike dimensions fit your body type. (GCN- Global Cycling Network have some great Youtube tutorials if you do not want to pay for a professional bike fit)
- Low body fat percentage equals less work in the saddle.
- Cadence, utilising a low gear for longevity. (See Froomey)
- Stay hydrated especially in the summer months and carry gels for any distances above 40 miles.
Stretching and mobility
With that covered it is time to look at the mechanics of cycling. Whilst riding our torso and above stays static; in a streamlined, stooped position over the bars. This posture places a great deal of stress through the lower back and shoulders in particular. The bike position can be thought of as an extension of the dreaded slumped working posture at a desk. This can cause havoc to our system. The tension can present with stiffness upon waking at the low back and neck or sharp pain when moving from sitting to standing. You may find it is tricky to get comfortable particularly when seated or driving.
If this is the case it is a good idea to start with some low back stretching to reverse the tissue adhesion. The low back stretches will be accompanied by an upper thoracic extension exercise to combat our stooped cycling posture. We can think of the mid back as the necks anchor, or foundation. Our cervical spine position is entirely dependent on thoracic orientation. Without the correct extension pattern the neck will be migrated anteriorly or to the front of our bodies furthering our pattern of pain, tightness and dysfunction. By working on the mid back when off of the bike and bringing some well needed rest to our posterior chain the body’s capacity to adopt a flexed cycle position will be increased.
Exercises to get you started will be Child’s pose, knee to chest and the Cobra with a bias to the upper thoracic segments.
Tutorials can be found on our Youtube channel:
Isaac Fellick MChiro