Tag: spinning

Gain the Edge: Pilates Boosts Cycling Performance

If you take regular cycling classes or are an avid cyclist, Pilates can be used as a cross training tool.

Whether performed on the mat or specialized equipment, Pilates increases core strength and stability. If your core is stable, your body can devote energy and power to your legs. When flexibility improves, risk of injury to neck, spine, knees, and lower back is lessened.

Benefits specifically related to cyclists include:

  • Greater effectiveness of pedal stroke
  • Increased upper body strength
  • Prevention of lower back pain
  • Better endurance through focused breathing
  • Correction of muscle imbalances

Next time you ride, think about how your body is positioned on the bike. Proper alignment helps you power up hills and sprint past opponents.

Most common postural faults are:

  • Rounded (hunched) shoulders
  • Excessive curve of spine
  • Forward head posture
  • Tight calves, hip flexors, hamstrings and low back muscles

Pilates can help correct these faults. It promotes proper body mechanics and postural awareness. Joseph Pilates believed that “the mind moves the body”. Pilates gives you the tools to create that body awareness.

Regular Pilates also helps prevent common injuries and discomfort. For example, cycling works mainly the quadriceps (front thigh). This can lead to a strength imbalance in the leg muscles and to muscle injury. Therefore, having balance between the quadriceps and the ‘opposing’ muscle group— the hamstrings — boosts the recruitment of those under used muscles. The body works as a unit, giving you the edge.

Consider adding Pilates to your workout regimen—it can pay off big; enhancing your performance and enjoyment of cycling as well as the activities of daily living.

Here’s an exercise to get you started: Single Leg Stretch.

The many benefits of indoor cycling

Indoor cycling has many benefits, no matter your outdoor riding experience or fitness level. Whether you are an experienced “roadie,” mountain bike rider, commuter, touring enthusiast, or a beginner, SAC has a wide range of instructors, formats, and class times for you to pick what works best. Indoor cycling is an ensured way of managing your hectic schedules and allow you the proper conditions, coaching, and synergy of fellow riders to improve many things: cardiovascular and strength training, endurance training, proper form and technique to avoid injuries, stress relief, an hour away from your Blackberry or email, meeting new friends, riding with long time riders, a good sweat, and the list goes on and on.

It is the goal of the Cycling program at SAC to both introduce and advance your abilities, no matter your experience, meaning we welcome ALL levels of riding including first time riders! Here are some helpful tips for those that are just considering this as a part of their fitness program and reminder to those already part of the program. First, sign up for a class and alert that instructor that you are new and would like a few minutes to get acquainted with the bikes. Proper set up and seat and handlebar adjustments are an important step in safety but more importantly, for an enjoyable ride. Getting to class a few minutes early to “play” with the settings is always a good idea when first getting started. Once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature to get set up.

Second: come hydrated and “fueled.” About 1-2 hours before class, be sure to start hydrating and have a light snack to ensure you’ll have the fuel to effectively power through class. Bananas, energy bars, oatmeal, bagels, and PB&J’s are all great options. Third, take a few minutes to stretch before class. Our classes are taught at early hours, lunch, and after work, all times that require stretching! And finally, come prepared to have FUN! If you come to class with that mindset, it will most likely happen.

We are fortunate at SAC to have a very solid base of experienced instructors, outdoor cyclists, and long time members of the Indoor Cycling program. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to set your own pace, don’t be afraid to push yourself as you choose. Our goal as instructors is to provide a well-rounded, safe, and challenging format that builds strength and confidence to keep coming back!

As we enter our late Spring and Summer months of longer days, it is our hope we’ll see you in our classes and give you the tools to make your outdoor rides more enjoyable. And for those that don’t like dodging cars, a great work out to make your day and night’s sleep that much more enjoyable.

See you soon in the studio or perhaps on the open road!