Do you remember this book?

 

strength

Do you remember this book – Strength and Conditioning for Cyclists?

Well, I took it to heart. The authors introduce the use of FMS (Functional Movement Screening) as the basis of strength training, specifically for cyclists. This is the first book I have seen that tailors FMS to the needs of the cyclist. It begins with a series of movements designed to assess your flexibility and strength, and then recommends exercises, and stretches, to correct limiting factors.

Despite years of strength training, I was surprised to learn my form was incorrect, and this may limit my efforts, and ultimately, my cycling performance.

  1. I was unable to squat fully. By this, I mean I was not able to get my butt lower than my knees. In turn, this meant I wasn’t fully engaging my glutes.
  2. I have insufficient upper-body strength. I flair my elbows when doing the press-up, and can only manage a few with good form. This is not unusual for cyclists. Their strength is in their legs, and upper-body mass is considered a handicap. But this is not true. You need arm and shoulder strength, particularly when climbing, and to assist holding a more aerodynamic position.
  3. I was unable to hinge at the hip without rounding my back. The flatter and more horizontal you are on the bike, the more aero you are. If you are unable to hinge easily at the hips, you ride in a more upright position, catching more air.

These are limiting factors that may be robbing me of comfort, endurance, and power. How much? I won’t know until I get back on the bike more regularly.

For the past month, I have been working at my ROM and strength – press-up, invert row, squat, lunge, and hinge – using only my body weight, careful to maintain the correct, and have noticed significant gains. My range-of-motion has improved, and I can control each movement more easily. I am ready to begin loading the exercises using a variety of kettle bells, dumb bells, or a bar.

The authors of this book advise making the self assessment, and related exercises an integral part of any year round training plan. Like FTP testing, I plan to complete the assessment every 4-6 weeks, and take corrective action as needed while continuing to load the movements.

If you want to improve your cycling performance, I suggest you have a look at this book.

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