Avid cyclists ride on average 150-200 days per year for up to 3-4 hours a day.
With its low impact on the joints and high caloric burn rate, cycling is a great choice for anyone wanting to get (and stay) in shape. It is accessible to all fitness levels and allows for easy progression. At all levels, cycling demands extreme physical effort and stamina to power the bicycle and to maintain correct form and speed, especially if for an extended time. Most of the work is in pushing down on the pedal, which uses all of the muscles in the leg. Equally important are the supporting muscles, which support the upper body, provide balance, reduce fatigue and increase endurance.
Anatomy of Cycling addresses all of these needs. The exercises are designed to work the wide range of muscles that come into play when cycling. All of them can be done at home using just seven items: a mat, a chair, a "Bosu ball," a small medicine ball, a large Swiss Ball, a small roller and a large roller.
The exercises are organized into four units:
Anatomy of Cycling also includes three pre-designed workouts -- Beginner's, Intermediate and Advanced -- as well as seven specific workouts: Quadriceps-Strengthening, Healthy Back, Core-Stabilizing, Low-Impact, Stamina, Balancing and Postural.
This is an essential reference for road cyclists and triathletes.
Jennifer Laurita is a League of American Bicyclists Instructor and national-level coach, training and certifying instructors across the United States in all aspects of bicycling. An avid year-round cyclist, she participates in charity events across the country. She is also a founding member of the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition. A certified science teacher, Jennifer lives in northern New Jersey.
excerpt from the INTRODUCTION: FIT FOR CYCLING
As a cyclist you already know how wonderful a bike ride can make your body feel. During a good ride, your legs are pumping, your abdominal muscles are engaged, and a wide spectrum of different muscles are working hard as you power forward.
But you can feel even better. When it comes to optimizing performance, avoiding aches and pains, and generally enhancing how you feel while cycling, there is always room for improvement. This book will give you all the tools you need to condition your body for cycling.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, you can benefit from stretches, strengthening moves that target your core and lower body, and exercises that improve your posture and hone the sense of balance that is so vital to cycling effectively. The exercises in these pages are designed to work a wide range of muscles that come into play when cycling. They can be performed in your living room, so that in between forays into the streets or along the mountain trails, you will be working your entire body to meet the unique demands of your sport.
Cycling is an incredibly rewarding activity. With its low impact on the joints and high rate of calorie burn, it is a great choice for anyone wanting to get (and stay) in shape. And it is accessible to enthusiasts of all fitness levels: no matter what your capability when beginning or returning to the sport, cycling allows for all forms of progression, from riding a flat mile in the local park loop to completing a first hilly 100-mile ride.
Cycling carries fantastic health benefits. It has been known to boost mental health, decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, and improve coordination skills. Studies have connected cycling to not only the physical effects of decreased waistlines and prolonged caloric burn, but also to heightened emotional health, mental capacity, and even earning potential and productivity at work.
If you're reading this book, you likely already have some level of interest in cycling. Perhaps you've seen the enviable chiseled quadriceps and calves of professional cyclists riding the Tour de France, or maybe you're looking for a low-impact transition from running.
You may simply love riding a bike and want to get better at it--or perhaps you want to try racing and are looking to increase speed and power output. Or maybe you're a triathlete and are seeking to help your current skills and capabilities transfer to the cycling portion of your racing.
Whatever the nature of your interest in cycling, this book will help you to get fit and stay fit for the physical demands of the sport. This is accomplished through targeting the muscles predominantly used to bring about forward motion of the bicycle, as well as through building the powerhouse muscles that will ultimately lead to a toned and balanced cycling body. After all, cycling is not all about the legs, but about core strength, balance, posture, and flexibility too.
Cyclists should be well-rounded athletes, recognizing that strength on the bike draws from all the body's major and minor muscle groups. In the following pages, illustrations accompanying the step-by-step instructions will show you exactly which muscles you are working.
IMPROVING CYCLING PERFORMANCE
Starting out cycling or returning to the sport you loved as a child can be as simple as getting the bike in your garage tuned up and heading out for a spin. We all have different tolerances and capabilities when it comes to riding in vehicular traffic, and if you are not used to cycling, go first to a bike path or some other safe location before riding in the street. It is important to get comfortable with starting and stopping, scanning and signaling, and feeling the leaning and turning effects that come about when you cycle.
Initially, if you stay at a reasonably low speed on flat terrain, you are unlikely to experience muscle fatigue; after all, the bicycle is an incredibly efficient machine.
It's more likely you'll experience some soreness in the back, knees, neck or even wrists and hands if the bike you're using was never properly fit to your body. The good news is that as long as your bicycle's frame is the right size (the bike shop can help you determine this), it is possible to adjust your body position so you do not feel aches and pains. Always give as much specific information as you can on what is hurting your body and where; front of the knee pain determines a different adjustment than back of the knee pain, for example.
Cycling fitness is determined largely by strength, cardiovascular endurance, muscle endurance, and power. Natural ability plays a role, but a well-trained, well-developed body can achieve even the most ambitious of goals. Whether you're a beginning cyclist or a Cat 1 racer, starting with a deep understanding of the body's interconnectedness is the first step in achieving goals. Simply riding more miles, or faster miles, will not necessarily lead to a continuous improvement in fitness. It's more important to take a well-reasoned approach to your body's strengths and weaknesses, which in turn will allow you to craft a fitness plan that works for you.
Many areas of fitness can play a role in a cyclist's performance. Perhaps a beginner's goal is simply to complete a long ride, whatever that mileage may be. Perhaps a racer's goal is to have greater power output. Maybe a super-busy mother wants to pack as much intensity as possible into her short exercise sessions. With their targeted approach, the exercises in this book will prove effective for any cyclist wanting to develop endurance (whether cardiovascular or muscular), speed, and power.
It is a common misconception that cycling fitness is centered on the lower body: the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Naturally a bicycle's forward motion is affected by the muscles in these groups, but development of the body as a whole will lead to balance, injury avoidance, and sustainability.
After all, few people enter the sport of cycling thinking it's for a short time. With proper muscle development and care, cycling is a sport that can and should be enjoyed well into your golden years. In fact, French cyclist Robert Marchand just set a record time for a 100-year-old when he rode 62 miles at a velodrome in Lyon.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Fit For Cycling
Legs and Arms
Core Strength and Stability
Balance and Posture
Glossary of Musculature