Cycling Injuries: 5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Pedal
Cycling can be taxing on the lower limbs (legs). The prime movers at the back are the hamstrings, gluteals with the calves and taking the lead when out of the saddle. Whilst in the saddle the hip flexors and the quadriceps at the front drive the pedals down and around. Muscle imbalances can often lead to pain and cycling injuries. Improve your performance, and get the most out of your next ride with these 5 simple tips:
When in the saddle with the pedal at 12 o’clock. The gluteals, quadriceps drive movement on the downward sweep of the pedal. On the way back up the hamstrings and hip flexor take up the load to return the pedal back from 6pm to 12.
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Stop Cycling Injuries: Strength
When you focus on strength training for cycling. you need to focus on the major groups and the ratios at which they perform optimally. Rather then focusing on isolated muscle work. Build strength in the lower trunk, the core.
Your workout to prevent cycling injuries should look a little something like this:
- Dynamic warm-up
- Single leg deadlift
- Heel raises
- Adequate rest and nutrition
This combination of exercises will ensure you get the most out of the prime movers. It will allow you to go stronger and for longer in the saddle. Whilst also protecting yourself from future cycling injuries.
Stop Cycling Injuries: Sport Specific
It’s all good and well to be super strong through the legs but it wont make a difference if you aren’t training your body to stand up to the stress of cycling. Alternating between seated and standing effort on hill climbs is a simple way to incorporate strength and endurance training whilst on the pedals.
When you put in the effort on the hill climbs it is best to crank up the gears to put some added resistance into the legs. Put the head down and suck in the deep breaths until you reach the top.
Stop Cycling Injuries: Rest and Recovery
Adequate rest and recovery is a key area in any sport. It includes alternating between heavy and light day/weeks stretching and eating a healthy balance diet. When your muscles fatigue, the little fibres that come together to form the muscle tear and reform. (this is the basic principle of increasing muscle mass)
When these tears and adhesions occur, they often led to a shortening effect. Stretching helps to maintain length in the muscles by allowing these muscles fibres to slide over one another freely.
You can check out my Mobility School section for a full repertoire of lower limb stretches, and foam roller releases perfect for cyclist.
Stay tuned for my next piece on cycling specific exercises, How To: Feel a Better Burn in the Saddle.