Grand County, get ready to ride like the wind
May 23, 2008
Once you have incorporated the cardiovascular endurance training regimen and dumbbell squats discussed in last week’s column, begin integrating the following calf and inner/outer core unit exercises into your cycling preparation regimen. The calf muscles are one of the most recruited muscles in the body during cycling, and the inner/outer core unit muscles stabilize the pelvis when seated and standing and help you to come into and out of the saddle with control.
Heel raises (works the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles-the two primary calf muscles)
– Standing on a four- to eight-inch bench or on the stairs, hold onto a stable wall, banister or other support with both hands, allowing both heels to suspend off of the bench with the balls of the feet on the bench.
– Only let the heel suspend to the point where the Achilles tendon is lengthened but not overstretched to discomfort.
– Rotate the shoulders back and down, lift the rib cage off of the waist, pull the navel toward the spine and relax the knees maintaining this position throughout the exercise.
– Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet fully engaging the calf muscles and then lower the heels back down slowly to the beginning position.
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– Perform this exercise two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two to three times per week.
– Once you can perform three sets of 12 repetitions easily, try placing a backpack with five to eight pounds of load on your back and repeat the exercise with load adding more load as you become stronger without sacrificing your form.
Reverse curls (works the inner core unit muscles-multifidus, transverses abdominis (TVA), the pelvic floor muscles and the outer core unit muscles-rectus abdominus, internal/external obliques)
– Begin lying supine on the floor.
– Bend your legs 90 degrees at the knee joint keeping the shins parallel to the ceiling and the ankles crossed.
– Place your fingertips right behind the ears resting your head into your fingertips, keeping the elbows wide and the shoulders off of the floor.
– Avoid looking straight at the ceiling as this may strain the neck. Instead, look where the ceiling meets the wall relaxing the neck.
– Pull the navel toward the spine and maintain this contraction throughout the exercise.
– Lift your hips off of the floor just enough to slip a piece of paper under your buttocks, aiming the knees directly toward the ceiling and lifting the upper torso off of the floor driving the rib cage toward the hip bones (i.e. close the distance between the rib cage and the front of the hips).
– Exhale as you lift the upper and lower body simultaneously and inhale as you lower back toward the floor without releasing the contraction or letting the shoulders touch the floor.
– Perform this exercise two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, four to six days per week, two slow counts up and down.
– Include 10 to 12 additional exercises for all major muscles groups into your muscular strength training regimen and stretches promoting flexibility in all major muscle groups, to ensure successful cycling experiences, two to three days per week. Feel free to drop me an e-mail if you need further guidance developing a safe and effective training program.
Next week’s column will cover preparation for running outdoors.
” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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