About 4 years ago, my wife and I moved to beautiful Southern California, and one of the first things I noticed was how many bike riders there were, more specifically, cyclists. I mean I get it…it’s absolutely beautiful here and riding up the coast with the ocean in clear view is a must. Since there are so many hitting the road here in San Diego and all over the rest of the country, (not to mention, all of the new spin studios opening up on every corner), I’ve decided to give my cycling friends some tips on how to balance out all of those hours spent on the bike doing repetitive movement so you can avoid injury.
One of the first things you’ll notice when watching someone ride their road, mountain or spin bike, (not a beach cruiser) is the forward posture position. There’s no such thing as bad posture, but we must have the ability to go into any postural position that the spine can produce, and we must do it well by mobilizing every vertebrae that’s located in our thoracic spine (vertebrates from the base of your neck down to just above your lower back). These vertebrates are designed to produce a ton of movement, spinal flexion/extension, lateral flexion both ways, and of course spinal rotation. If for some reason, your body can’t produce all of these movement patterns, then the body will make them come from somewhere else…usually your lower back, neck, or shoulders…uh oh! Check out the two workouts below where we dive in to how to get our thoracic spine moving.
Another byproduct for cyclists is that most of them, (and this applies to most people in general) are very quad dominant in their movements. This means they tend to overuse their quadriceps, (big meaty muscles on the front of the thigh) instead of recruiting their hips. Think about it. Most of the time if you’re in spin class, what burns the most??? Those quads baby!
To combat being quad dominant, most strength coaches and personal trainers preach a lot of posterior chain work, which makes us use all of those muscles on the back side of the body. This is definitely what cyclists need to be doing! We can really attack those back sides with RDLs (Romanian Deadlifts), rows, and swiss ball leg curls.
Have you ever thought about how much time you spend going in the same plane of motion when you're on your bike? Because of this, cyclists need to incorporate some kind of lateral movement to balance it all out. Variability in our training keeps our bodies healthy so mini band walks are a great way to get this in. They take almost no time whatsoever but you’ll be feeling the burn.
ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET
Do yourself a favor and not only remember to wear your helmet, but check out these strength and mobility workouts below. They’re designed just for cyclists so you can enjoy your summer and keep hitting the open road.
Want even more strength and mobility tips? Then check out my Instagram and Facebook pages or YouTube channel.
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005. During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.
Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals. Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)