they’re in the Spinning studio or riding on the road, cyclists are
always searching for ways to improve their performance in the saddle.
They try the latest training techniques, equipment and nutritional
plans in an attempt to gain an edge. But many don’t realize they can
also reap benefits through a less obvious source—a Pilates exercise
conditioning, whether performed on the mat or on specialized equipment
such as the reformer, involves a series of dynamic movements designed
to strengthen the body’s core. It also aims to improve flexibility of
the spine and joints.
the fitness industry has evolved, professionals in the field have
learned how important it is to effectively strengthen core musculature.
If your center is strong and flexible, all types of movement are easier
to perform. It’s clear that this concept applies well to improved
performance in any type of sport or exercise.
cycling doesn’t use all of the body’s muscles, it does require overall
strength, flexibility and balance. Pilates is a great complement to the
Spinning program because it works the body as a whole and fosters
postural alignment throughout a variety of motions. On the bike, this
translates to more efficient performance. Think about the common
postural faults of cyclists:
- rounded shoulders and increased thoracic kyphosis
- forward head posture
- tight calves, hip flexors, hamstrings, IT band and low back muscles
- less strength in the upper torso and abdomen
- core weakness
it promotes proper body mechanics and postural awareness, Pilates can
help correct these faults. To keep you riding on the road to success,
Pilates also helps prevent common injuries and discomfort—such as pain
in the knees, feet, back, neck and arms—that can all too easily
sidetrack or squelch a training program.
Benefits specifically related to cyclists include:
- greater effectiveness of the pedal stroke
- increased upper body strength
- prevention of lower back pain
- improved balance
- more efficient recovery of leg muscles
- better endurance through focused breathing
- correction of muscle imbalances
seasoned outdoor cyclists, incorporating Pilates into the transition
and foundation training periods can pay off big during race season.
Because Pilates doesn’t build bulky muscles, it’s also a great
discipline to practice year-round. Even if you cycle exclusively in the
studio, Pilates can enhance your performance and enjoyment of Spinning
classes, as well as the activities of daily living.
adding Pilates to your workout regimen. Any Pilates class taught by a
qualified instructor will most likely feature a well-rounded workout
that benefits cyclists. Private Pilates instruction on the mat or
reformer better tailor a workout to your sports-specific needs. If you
would like to take a specialized workshop or are interested in becoming
certified to teach Pilates, log on to www.spinfitness/pilates for information about training programs near you.
Kim Goad is a SPIN Pilates™ Master
Instructor and Spinning instructor based in Baltimore, MD. Also an
author and performance improvement consultant, she speaks across the
country on topics such as life balance, team building and peak
performance. She can be reached at [email protected]