For a body designed to run around in an upright position chasing mountain lions, cycling is a pretty out there concept. Sitting hunched over, neck out and pedalling circles is far from natural. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the body makes changes so that your cycling position becomes more sustainable. From hunching and stretching the muscles in the upper back and neck to pressuring the hips and core to conform to the new position. Short-term comfort achieved, the body’s job is done. Now it’s up to you to reverse all this so you can chase those mountain lions, and avoid overuse injuries that come from this unusual position.
But what can you do to unravel the knot that your body has become? You could search the Internet and gather up a bunch of different exercises that are designed to make you look good for summer. Or you could get yourself something that could actually help those aches and pains. ‘Core Advantage’ by former pro cyclist for Garmin Sharp, Tom Danielson, is a pretty good pick of the bunch. Tom spent years riding long hours, day in and day out, hunched over the handle bars. To spend these hours in the saddle, he worked on his core by doing crunches. Apart from getting good at crunches the work he was doing wasn’t helping cure his ailments. That’s until he met Allison Westfahl, an exercise physiologist in Boulder, Colorado. She helped him tailor a core workout regime that specifically targeted the muscles that are stressed during cycling. With all the exercises they had gathered, they created a book. And it’s pretty good!
The book starts with 93 pages on everything from how to identify a postural distortion you may have, to how the core is used on the bike. Next, the workout sessions are covered with clear instructions and photos for each exercise. The workout sessions have three main levels, with five workouts in each. The workouts all focus on different parts of the core. Firstly addressing posture correction and injury prevention before moving to bike handling, stability and endurance.
Even if you only ride a few hours per week, you can still gain an incredible amount from a tailored core exercise routine. Especially if the rest of your week is spent hunched over a computer! Most sessions only last 20 minutes and all you need to complete the workouts is the ground, two arms and two legs. And of course, your core!
Jump onto Book depository, Or google ‘Core advantage’ and grab yourself a copy.