Cross training for cyclists by Simon Shepherd
Remind you of anything:
“New Year, New Goals, New Kit and clothing you want to try out on the bike…But oh look its winter out there, damn. Oh well I’ll go tomorrow!!”
Lets be honest no-one really likes getting on the bike for a 3-4 hour training ride when all around you the rain is coming in horizontally and the trees are blowing over at 90 degrees. Kind of takes the fun and beauty out of cycling.
Now lets face facts, its not all about the bike after all, there are other activities we as cyclists can and should engage in to benefit us as the cycling season approaches. Strength and conditioning work is as equally important as getting the miles under your belt. As cyclists we work in a linear motion often for hours on end, day after day, week after week. lots of repetitive movements in one plane. Trouble is, we are made of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles; and not forgetting our nervous system, all of which helps us through 3 dimensions in our everyday function and activity. It is therefore important that we make ourselves fit for purpose in a 3 dimensional way.
Ah yes the old ‘core strength’. A group of muscles including Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus, Mulitifidus, Internal and External obliques, Erector Spinals, Gluts to name a few.
So what I hear you say??
Well it’s these muscles that need to be strong and fit for purpose to help avoid predisposition to injury and support ourselves whilst we hold our linear static postures for 3-4 hour plus rides. Its these muscles that when strong, fit and efficient, help our pedaling become more efficient, help our handling and control of the bike improve and make the sport we all love become much more enjoyable!
Ideas to help train the core:
Firstly keep it simple! The harder and more complicated you make your training regime the more likely the chance of bad form, bad training and potential risk of injury. Aim for 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps initially, 3 times a week, aiming to progress onto 3 sets, then sets with load (weights). Its also important to stop exercising when your form has gone, or indeed if you feel pain. It is all about quality not quantity after all.
Some simple exercises to consider in your core sessions:
Good luck, and remember consistency pays off.
See you on the road