Challenge yourself and improve your performance both on and off the bike with tips from the owner of Fisioboutique.
Your trainer, Camilla Pedrazzi-Fochetti, has been a practicing physiotherapist for 10 years and a Pilates instructor for eight, and She loves cycling. Over the next weeks she will share with you specific cyclist – oriented exercises that will help you to improve your performance and your rides!
In her studio She trains all levels of cyclists and She is also the physiotherapist for a mountain bike team during World Cup races.
“I have great respect for fluid movement and for achieving technical perfection in my exercise routines. My goal is to help my patients and the athletes with whom I work improve their execution of the exercises and thus improve their overall strength.”
The following exercises are Pilates exercises adapted to integrate the specific movements we want to do in our training. Remember, in Pilates the core is where the movement originates. This is key to our training as well. It’s important to remember your core even in exercises in which the predominant movement is in the upper or lower limbs.
Lukas is both a mountain biker and cyclocross racer but these exercises will benefit any type of cyclist.
In some exercises, Pilates equipment called a “Reformer” or “Chair” are used. The tension and resistance in these Pilates machines is created by integrated springs with varying levels of tension.
Why is spring resistance so effective?
It increases the range of motion and allows you to develop muscle control through both concentric and eccentric movements. And, it is extremely challenging.
Lukas uses some of these exercises in warm up sessions before competitions while others are used in recovery to help balance the body.
Although Pilates equipment is really brilliant, not everyone has access to them. For this reason, I have given an alternative for each of the exercises in which the resistance is created with the use of an elastic band.
The elastic band alternative is not completely identical, but at least everyone can do it. I use Black Roll‘s Multi Band, it‘s extremely versatile and practical.
With regard to the ideal number of repetitions for each exercise, what I explained in the first session of “Train with Camilla” still applies: #LESSBUTGOOD is always the Golden Rule!
On the bike, the back is in a rounded position. Even if we don‘t think about it much, creating a homogeneous and active curve of the entire spine is really important, especially when pushing hard gears. This is a reinforcement exercise but, at the same time, it helps to create a better awareness of the movement at spine level. While the femurs remain fixed, the pelvis first moves in retroversion then anteversion allowing for both extending and bending at hip level. On the bike we never have that situation, rather the femurs are in motion while the pelvis remains fixed.
Lack of lumbar extension. Losing the spinal flex during hip extension. Inactive spinal bending.
This is not an exercise that relies on triceps reinforcement similar to when doing a push up, even though it might look this way at first. The goal here is to maintain an alignment of the trunk thanks to the activation of the posterior chain and the oblique abdominals while one arm moves. Stability of the shoulder girdle of the support arm is also required.
Achieving shoulder girdle stability is important and often overlooked by cyclists, it’s essential for mountain bikers but equally important for those who stay on a road bike for many hours. Through this training, we can prevent many problems in the neck area which is especially helpful for those who do very long rides.
Sometimes asymmetries at the level of the lower limbs cause us to have an asymmetrical position of the torso when we are on the saddle. This exercise will help by working on the alignment and reinforcing the posterior chain in ways that don’t occur when cycling.
Exercise 2 – Chair
In this exercise the entire body from head to toe must be active, including the entire posterior chain. The shoulders remain aligned throughout the execution of the exercise.
Exercise 2A – Multi band
Start from a quadruped position (on all fours) with your back well aligned. With one arm off the ground, activate the shoulder girdle of the support arm and always keep your weight distributed equally between the right and left knees.
Loss of shoulder alignment. Lumbar and cervical hyperlordosis (excessive curvature, arched back).
This is one of my favorite exercises. On the one hand it creates mobility: whereas in this position a cyclist is always bending, we do the opposite and seek to flex and extend. On the otherhand, it improves the selectivity of bilateral movements at the hip level.
Exercise 3 – Chair
Exercise 3 – Multi band
Two variations: The one with the knee on the floor can be your warm up exercise while the one with the knee off the floor is more challenging for both balance and muscles, even if the main objective is to mobilize.
For both exercises the emphasis is on the leg glutes that slide backwards keeping the pelvis in a neutral position.
Anteversion (inward twisting) of the pelvis when the trunk moves anteriorly (towards the front of the body) or to the side. The movement should only take place at the hip joint.
Here our focus is on spine extension activated by a massive recruitment of gluteus and oblique muscles and control of the shoulder blade. During the execution, it is important to have the legs abducted with extra rotation in order to allow free pelvis retroversion (tilt) . The image shows the pads you can place on the side of the pubic joint to help with this exercise.
Exercise 4 – Chair
Exercise 4 – Multi band
The first exercise can be used as a warm up for the second, more challenging exercise or it can be done on it‘s own as a single exercise.
Loss of oblique muscle support and excessive lumbar lordosis (curvature or arching). Excessive neck extension.
A knee extension exercise done in a position that we usually never assume but that increases overall control. It is imperative that the trunk remains stable.
Exercise 5 – Reformer
Exercise 5 – Multi band
It‘s important for this alternative to have the foot moving on a slippery surface that has no resistance – a small skateboard is a perfect helper!
Compensate for the movement by using the trunk. Incomplete extension of the knee. Lowering of the pelvis.