Off the bike conditioning …

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In 2018, Phil Burt and Martin Evans published a book entitled “Strength and Conditioning for Cyclists”. They are a physiotherapist and strength trainer respectively that have worked with both the British Cycling Team and Team Skye.

Given this is February, and I have transitioned inside to the gym, I borrowed the book from the library. I had heard of the FMS (Functional Movement Screening) system but never applied it to cycling specifically. This book does just that. It presents a self-assessment program to help you identify cycling specific weaknesses, and a series of exercises to correct them.

First, I read the book from cover to cover. Now, I am revisiting the self-assessment and corrective exercises sections to tailor a personal training program. The book convincing argues that you must first master certain movements – squat, split squat, press up, inverted row, thigh hinge – without using weight before beginning to load them using either an exercise ball or kettle bell. The assessment illustrates where you might have limited range of motion (ROM), or lack of control through the movement, and the corrective exercise enable you to regain the flexibility and strength necessary to cycle faster, longer, and more comfortably.

I was surprised to learn that I have weak upper body strength – I cannot complete a single press up or inverted row with correct form – but excellent leg strength. With the help of the book, I have devised a program that works on these weaknesses without ignoring the other musculature areas.

The authors argue this is a year long, no life long, process, that you need to be continually re-assessing yourself, and adjusting your strength and mobility exercises regularly just as we regularly re-test our FTP.

After years of trying a variety of different strengthening routines, this program makes sense. You first build a base to insure the correct positions and complete range of motion necessary for cycling before beginning to load the exercises. If you are looking for a new strength program, I suggest you give this a try.

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