Stretching and FUNdamentals of Movement

posted in: Coaching | 0

We have introduced two new training elements for riders at the roller sessions.  These approaches should be used as part of your regular training regime, no matter what type of cycling you do.  They are in the category of exercises that won’t necessarily make you faster, but they will certainly help to avoid problems, which make us slower!

Before cycling – FUNdamentals of Movement

You might do this type of session with a number of these exercises 2-3 times a week.  These are basic strength and conditioning movements, without weights, that help you to gain core stability and flexibility.   Riding a bike for a long time in your life makes you very strong in some areas, but not others – these exercises help you to keep a good, strong posture and range of movement that will help you throughout life, not just on the bike.

After cycling – stretching

Stretching is used to increase the range of movement and flexibility of a joint.  Cycling develops our muscles, but in some cases, actually reduces their range of movement and in later life, this can lead to other problems.  So, by using a range of stretching exercises, we can keep our joints operating smoothly as well and help with our recovery from cycling sessions.  You should aim to stretch for ten minutes every day and certainly after cycling – any time up to an hour afterwards, but expect that you will be stiffer if you have had a hard session and you have rested for a while.

Safety – the attached article has a range of stretches and talks you through how to do them.  You should NEVER experience pain when stretching – only the feeling that the muscle you are targeting is being stretched.  The article also talks about an advanced technique called PNF – don’t try this to start, but do seek advice at our performance clinics or roller sessions about this.  PNF is best demonstrated when someone has established a good routine.

Individual differences – the model movement shown on the exercise may be impossible for you, at least to start.  For example, we are all different and sometimes this means there are significant differences between limb length, torso length and flexibility between one person and another – we are all unique and will find our own stretching limits.  The final point is to NEVER bounce when in a stretch (sometimes called “ballistic stretching”) – this technique has been out of fashion for many years and should not be practised – it is simply too dangerous and has been shown to lead to injury.

If you can develop a good stretching routine, you will not only help your cycling, but you will exercise the parts that cycling doesn’t reach!

The supporting articles are to be found here:

FUNdamentals of Movement 1

FUNdamentals of Movement 2

Stretching Exercises

 

Tony Hodgson

tony.hodgson@hettonhawks.org.uk