Annemarie Alf, PT, DPT, CSCS
The most successful athletes take a whole body, holistic approach to training, improving overall movement which leads to the highest level of performance. That means optimal mobility, stability, movement preparation and activation, movement based training, strength and power, and of course for cycling- endurance training. It’s also important not to forget about recovery and regeneration.
As cyclists we spend most of our time in a seated hip and lumbar flexed position. That means our hip flexors can become stiff or shortened, our hip rotators are typical tight and hip extensors shut down, core stabilizers may be weakened and thoracic spine mobility decreases all leading to less than maximal power output. Every athlete needs optimal movement patterns and kinetic linking through the ‘pillar’ which is the connection between the shoulder, trunk, and hips. Its more than just the ‘core’ in order to generate the highest power output. In the sport of cycling maximum power endurance is needed for the best results. In order for our body to produce the maximal force times distance over time, we must have optimal mobility, stability and strength.
The main hip flexor muscles are made up of the illiopsoas, rectus femoris and the tensor fasciae latae (along with a few others). To improve mobility in the anterior hip region, try these 2 go to exercises.
Hip rotator mobility can be improved by:
Besides, the above listed mobility and strength exercises some other staple cycling exercises would still include squats, lunges, split squats and step ups.
Of course, we can not forget about the ‘pillar’ or foundation of where all kinetic linking occurs. If the ‘pillar’ is weak there will be energy leaks, leading to overall decreased power output.
The shoulder/ thoracic region of the pillar must be mobile. Often, as cyclists the upper spine is in a poor rounded position leading to poor posture with tight pec minor muscles and decreased thoracic mobility. To improve the mobility in these areas follow the following to exercises.
There are a million different ‘core’ exercise options. But here are 2 go-tos! Neutral spine position is most important.
For more specifics on overall specific programming for cycling, triathlon, and trail running contact Olympus at: www.olympusmovement.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.upriseperformancecamps.com for all your endurance sport programming and camp needs.
Arnstein S, Oyvind S, Marius B, Morten H L, Jan H, Jan H. (2010) “Maximal Strength Training Improves Cycling Economy In Competitive Cyclists”. Journal of S Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol 24 No. 8, 2157-2165.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ANNEMARIE ALF, PT, DPT, CSCS
DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY, STRENGTH & CONDITIONING SPECIALIST
Physical Therapist for the Chinese Olympic Gymnastics Team
Annemarie is licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She was the first American Physical Therapist to work with any Chinese Olympic Team at an Olympic Games. She attended the 2012 London Olympic Games with the Chinese Olympic Gymnastic team who achieved eight total medals, more than any other nation. In 2014, Annemarie founded Olympus Movement and Mobility , which is a holistic approach to the temple that is you. We go beyond just treating your injury. Olympus is about improving your overall movement, which will lead to increased performance. We deliver a hands- on, top tiered professional approach to physical therapy. Emphasis and direction are placed on mobility, injury prevention, strength and conditioning; as well as regeneration and recovery to ensure that you are always prepared to train and compete at the highest level. Olympus Movement and Mobility is the official physiotherapist and mobility specialist to UPRISE Performance Camps. UPRISE is a program designed for emerging & elite endurance athletes in search of their ultimate potential.