The 4 Pillars of Fitness
Are you aware of the 4 areas (or pillars) of fitness that
make up the foundation for training?
It is very important to have a basic understanding of what is being trained in order to accomplish our goals. As an instructor, it is our job to deliver a workout that incorporates these very basic principles.
The four areas of fitness are 1) the cardiovascular system, 2) muscle skeletal system, 3) flexibility/balance and 4) neurological.
Let’s break it down.
1) The cardiovascular system is obviously
trained with every pedal stroke. Remember, the aerobic energy system trains for a strong fitness base and
increases our capacity to utilize oxygen. The anaerobic energy system trains our bodies to buffer the lactic acid
that is being built up in our muscles and blood as the work intensity increases. The more efficient we are at buffering this waste product, the longer and stronger we can continue in our workout. Make sure your classes address the training of both energy systems. For the average athlete, anaerobic training is only recommended for approximately 10-15% of our total weekly training time.
2) The muscle skeletal system is trained with resistance. This training is targeted at strengthening
our muscles for function as well as sports performance. The skeletal system is the “coat hanger” of our muscle systems and also needs to be challenged with weighted workouts, especially for women and the prevention of osteoporosis. Applying resistance to the bike will help develop a strong muscle structure, but weight training, especially for the upper body and core is needed.
3) Flexibility is all about keeping the ligaments and tendons that connect our bones and muscles soft and supple. Without flexibility training, we risk a much high degree of injury. Balance is important as we age and for sports performance as well. Balance training is accomplished on the bike as jumps and other positions
that take us out of the saddle.
4) Our neurological system is like a path through the woods. If the path is not trained, we lose it and that translates to slower reaction times. This pathway is trained around your anaerobic threshold.
So the next time you create a class, think about addressing the 4 pillars of fitness and keep yourself and
all your members healthy and successful for a very long time!