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Archive for July, 2015

6 Easy Tips For Successful Cycling

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by Laurie Plouffe No Comments

Edmonton’s river valley and surrounding areas are perfect for mountain biking. Of course, you wouldn’t attack the single track with a flat tire, bent rim, or a squeaky drivetrain, but what about your body? These 6 tips will help ensure your body’s muscles function just as well as your bike does, and will go a long way to help keep you biking at your best.

Tip 1: Get your butt in gear
If you want to attack hills, make sure your hamstrings and glutes have the strength to get to the top. Bar squats, walking lunges, and single leg squats are excellent exercise that can help strengthen those key muscles that power you up the hill.

Tip 2: Save your knees please
Nothing can ruin a day of riding quicker than knee pain. Oftentimes this is due to adaptive shortening of the muscles on the front of your thighs (quadriceps and hip flexors), which puts too much stress on your kneecap. Combat this by using a foam roller to roll out your quads Thirty passes back and forth over these muscles can go a long way in lengthening these tissues. If you don’t have a foam roller, a standing 30-second quad stretch (pull your heel towards your butt) should do

Tip 3: Keep your back on track
Aggressive downhill/aero riding positions where your back is forward flexed for prolonged periods can place sensitive structures in your spine under a lot of stress (intervertebral discs, back muscles etc.). Help keep your back happy by taking periodic breaks by moving into an upright riding position, or stepping off your bike and walking around while you refuel. The cobra position (lay on your stomach, keep your pelvis on the ground while lifting your upper body away from the ground with your arms) is also a good way to give your back a break from the prolonged flexed postures of biking

Tip 4: Calves for the paths
Biking, especially uphill, demands a lot from your calf muscles. Keep your calves strong by incorporating straight and bent knee calf raises into your workout routine. Don’t forget to stretch out your calves too! Stand on a step with your knees straight, and slowly lower your heels to below the level of the step until you feel a stretch in your calves. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Additionally, stretch your calves with a bent knee. Assume a semi-lunge position and slowly drive the knee of your front leg straight over your toes while keeping the heel of your forward leg on the ground until you feel a stretch at the back of your calf. Again, hold 30 seconds per leg.

Tip 5: Cross train for your chain
To become a better cyclist, you obviously need to bike, but you can cross train as well. Studies have shown there is a cross training effect that occurs between running and biking. So, if you don’t feel like clipping into your pedals for a ride, consider going for a jog or run. You’ll work a lot of the same muscles you use for biking without having to worry about cleaning the chain marks off your right calf.

Tip 6: Listen to your body; if you break it, let us help you fix it
If something is wrong with your bike, it will let you know. Your body is no different. If you begin to experience pain during your ride, or in the hour(s) following your ride, it is usually indicative of tissue overload and possible injury. In this case don’t hesitate to come in and see the physiotherapists at Propel Sports Physio to assess your injury. We’re just as crazy about mountain biking as you are (really), and want to keep you performing your best.

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