Get Fit Tips from the NEBH Sports Performance Team
A comprehensive off-season strength and conditioning program is recommended to improve cyclists’ overall performance on the bike and is a proven way to gain a competitive edge.
Consider the following for improving your cycling performance:
- Focus on improving core strength. Your core, which is made up of your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen, keeps your body upright while cycling and provides a stable platform for the hips, thighs, and knees to work from. A well-conditioned core can help reduce injury and discomfort in the back.
- Flexibility exercises can help prevent injury.
- Strength training is essential for improved performance and injury prevention.
For cyclists, the most commonly reported injuries come from overtraining, improper bike fit, and overuse.
Fitting Your Bike
Before you “get on the saddle” and start to ride, you should be comfortable on your bike.
The saddle (bike seat) should be level to support your body weight and let you move around when needed. An improperly fitted seat can lead to overuse injuries as extra pressure is placed on arms, hands, hips, and knees. To find your ideal seat height when riding, your knee should bend between 25 and 35 degrees with your foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
Handlebars should also be adjusted correctly. When reaching for your handlebars you should have a soft bend to your elbows and be able to comfortably use all the positions on the handlebars. Incorrect positioning of the handlebars can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain.
Preventing Overuse Injuries
Make sure to change your riding position often. Slight variations in your position can reduce stress on pressure points on your body and avoid overstressing muscles. Stand up on the occasional rise in the road, and move your hands into and out of the drops.
Stretch before and/or after riding. Allow for sufficient time to warm up before diving into harder efforts. As the age of the athlete advances, a proper warm up and stretch become increasingly important.