The previous article looked at issues and possible postural muscles imbalances involved with cycling. Now that we have an understanding of the imbalances that arise from a prolonged cycling position, we can develop an effective program for correcting those postural distortions. The first part of the program is stretching the muscles that were identified as tight in the previous article (calves, quadriceps, hip flexors, hamstrings, pectorals, trapezius, and neck flexors). Stretching the muscles back to their proper length tension relationship. As indicated in the previous article, tight muscles alter joint positions which in turn affect the ability of opposing muscles to function properly.
Each stretch should be held for at least 20-30 seconds. The next component is five minutes of light cardiovascular activity to increase blood flow to active muscles and increase the efficiency of the kinetic chain. Treadmill or elliptical are choices. Core stabilization training is next. Stabilization training involves improving the capacity of the transversus abdominis, internal obliques and the pelvic floor muscles too effectively stabilize the spine and pelvis during cycling. Stabilization exercises involve any movement across the lower back, hips and pelvis. Exercises include a progression of teaching the lower abdominals and pelvic floor muscles to stabilize the spine correctly. Exercises include abdominal bracing (also known as “developing” maneuver), bridges, the dog (quadruped) series of exercises, and planks.
These exercises should be performed with 12-20 reps with a slow controlled movement. Balance is a requirement in any kind of driving, (strength, pace, sprints, climbing, etc) and involves a series of actions coordinated muscular system, nervous and skeletal (aka, the kinetic chain). Balance training is designed to improve the efficiency of the body’s kinetic chain. Performing simple exercises like balancing on one leg strength the muscles around the hip, knee and ankle to stabilize their joints. As you become more balanced, you can gradually add slow controlled movements, as it comes with one leg and / or squats with one leg. Part of the strength training program is designed to improve dynamic joint stabilization by performing exercises that are slow and controlled with more repetitions. Strength training is performed using stability balls, dumbbells, and incorporating balance. Each exercise should be performed with 2-3 sets of 12-20 repetitions and can be done in a circuit.