Today we want to share with all of you Why do we love to include Pilates as part of our cycling workout routine.
Pilates is such a noble discipline that can help cyclists learn how to properly engage and activate the core, back, and hips to maintain a strong form on the bike and prevent injuries. That's why we invited our friends from Acuity Pilates Studio who happily shared with the Gear Up Cycling community 3 pre-ride exercises that will help you improve your cycling performance. For each exercise, do 2 sets of 8-12 reps.
Footwork is essential in the mechanics of any pedal stroke as both the plantar flexion and dorsiflexion are actively involved in the movemen. Without a proper "muscle synergy" in the pedaling motion, symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, tight calves, and aching feet may occur. It’s probably the most important component and the foundation of the ride.
· Stand with your heels together and toes wide (make a “V” with your feet).
· Press your heels together and push all five toes into the floor as you lift your heels.
· Check: Are your heels still together? Do you have equal weight through all your toes? Good!
· Slowly lower your heels, as though you are pressing them down to squeeze the juice out of an orange.
Bridges help to engage the back end so that when cyclists are challenged to add more tension or “ride up a hill” They can use the hamstrings and glutes to push up.
This allows saving the hip flexors for some speed.
· Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and legs hip-distance apart.
· Press your weight into your feet, and reach your knees away from you, to lift your hips and pelvis.
· Check: Are you in true hip extension? Pull your pubic bone back towards you to tuck your tail under a little more – this will engage your hamstrings and glutes deeper and open the front of your hips.
· Keep grounded through your feet, as you slowly lower back down.
Posting is how people connect to the seat. It fires up the core and powers up the legs!
It can be equated to how it feels when you go over a bump on the road. If you let yourself go loosey-goosey you lose control of the bike.
If you really connect with your bike through your pelvic floor you feel as though you are the master and the bike is your puppet. You become one with the bike. Some may think of it as the posture taken for riding a horse or mountain biking.
Pre-ride exercise (on a chair OR on the bike)
· Ground through your feet and then – without actually moving your legs – draw your feet, knees and thighs towards each other, as though you have a strong magnet connecting everything to the centre.
· Notice how you grow taller through your pelvis and spine, and your lower core feels connected.
· Check: Are your legs still in alignment? You don’t want to be knock-kneed to do this!
· Hold 1-2 breaths, and release.
Giving your body 5-10 minutes of direction before you ride can increase your performance, decrease injury, and make you want to come back for more because it just feels so darn good!