Body positioning on the bike can speak a lot about your current fitness level. Injuries caused during cycling can occur in one or two ways; either because of the fit of the bike itself or how the cyclist fits on the bike.
If the bike doesn’t fit the rider, injuries such as neck strain and back pain can occur. Injuries such as strains or leg pain occur mainly because of over-use, over-training or not warming up or down sufficiently.
Most of us forget about proper posture and alignment during our daily lives. We slouch, hunch our shoulders and reach our heads forward while driving our cars. We carry many of these same bad body mechanics over into our workouts, ending up with back pain. Look around your next workout class and you will see these body patterns begin to appear, especially as the participant begins to fatigue. In Pilates & Yoga all movements are generated by the powerhouse (located in the centre of the body).
Bicycle road races require a great deal of muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Cross training is important for cyclists because it can be difficult get enough mileage on the bikes needed to develop the advanced endurance needed for racing. A good combination of speed, strength, and endurance work, along with flexibility stretches, It is essential for cycling success. Pilates & Yoga provide cycling stretches and flexibility stretches that are bespoke to every individual cyclists needs.
The major muscles involved in road cycling include:
- The muscles of the legs and hips; the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus muscles, and the lower leg, anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius and soleus.
- The core muscles are important for maintaining balance and power; the rectus abdominis, oblique’s (internal and external), hip flexors, and the spinal erectors.
- The muscles of the arms and shoulders are important to maintain a support position on the bike when leaning forward; the deltoids, biceps and triceps, and the muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm.
A good core stability,cycling stretching programme and Flexibility Stretches for these muscles will help ensure success on the bike. Weaknesses, or imbalances, in any of these muscles can lead to injuries for the cyclist. Special attention must be paid to stretching the muscles after use to ensure flexibility in commonly over-used muscles.
Cycling Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as cycling stretching won’t be effective.
Flexibility Stretches are essential to overall conditioning and should be an integral part of any training routine and cycling stretches programme. Due to the long period of time spent in the same position, stretching is very important to the cyclist, both pre- and post-training. Flexibility Stretching and cycling stretches can be a powerful rehabilitation tool, as well.
There is completely no doubt that Pilates and yoga increases core strength and stability can lead to improved performance on the bike.
Pilates Guide Marguerite Ogle offered the following observation while watching the Tour de France:
“As with most sports, in bicycling there are common pitfalls like repetitive stress on certain muscle groups and the accompanying uneven development of the musculature.”
In other words, we as cyclists tend to have highly-developed legs, but frequently without the same sort of muscular conditioning of the upper body. That problem becomes particularly pronounced, she notes, when fatigue sets in.
To help counter that, Marguerite recommends Pilates Cycling Stretching Programme exercises specifically for cyclists because of their emphasis on balanced overall strength and flexibility as well as their ability to help develop underused muscles.