I Want To Ride My Bicycle. I Want To Ride My Bike.
And why not, cycling is a great way to reconnect with nature and take our mind off of everyday stresses. Cycling is a great aerobic exercise that is good for our health and heart. In fact, a recent major study suggests that those who cycle 20 miles over the period of a week are half as likely to suffer heart disease as their non-cycling colleagues. Cycling also helps to maintain strength and coordination.
In spite of all these benefits, however, cycling does have some common pitfalls. Neck and back issues are listed as the most common type of injuries that can occur. This happens because cyclists tend to ride in a hunched position -- shoulders rounded forward with the head facing down. As cyclists experience fatigue, the chest and abdominal wall frequently drops forward and all the weight falls into the arms, the deltoid, biceps and forearms. This position causes the neck to bend unnaturally in order to hold the head up.
In addition, cycling highly develops the quadriceps, gluts, hamstrings and calves but does not do much for other muscle groups. This can lead to an uneven development of the musculature, more commonly known as muscular imbalance. Muscle imbalance is when one part of your body is strong and stable, but other parts of your body are weak and the muscles are stretched tight.
The effects of a muscle imbalance are not immediate, but occur over time. As one part of your body becomes stronger and another becomes weaker, the spine can get out of alignment and this is where many common back injuries occur. When your spine is misaligned, the nerves in your back can become compressed and cause lots of pain and difficulties with daily life. A muscle imbalance can also cause your spine to become curved improperly, which can result in herniated discs, pulled muscles and improper posture. Improper curvature of the spine is the most common cause of back problems and many cyclists have this condition.
As a counter to these pitfalls, Pilates offers a challenging workout focused on balanced overall strength and flexibility. Of course Pilates is known for its emphasis on core strength and abdominal work. The hallmark of the core training is that it develops strength in the deep intrinsic muscles of the abdomen and spine, taking pressure off the superficial muscles and promoting more balanced and efficient use. This kind of inner strength training, along with Pilates focus on alignment and torso stability, can support a cyclist even through those long rides.
Some of the other benefits of Pilates that can promote proper alignment and improved performance of the cyclists include:
Building upper body strength by developing correct posture when riding
Increasing lower back and hamstring flexibility
Reducing lower back injury by stretching hip flexors and quadriceps
Increasing endurance by practicing proper Pilates breathing technique
Strengthening quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, buttocks, hip flexors and abdominal muscles.
Reducing imbalance of the muscle groups by synchronizing the quadriceps with the hamstring muscles to stabilize the leg movement during pedaling.
Improve balance of the body to avoid falling during riding
The following is a testimonial from a local cyclists...
One of life's truisms is that as you age you tend to lose muscle mass, stamina and tone. Thanks to Pilates training I am stronger at 68 than I was 20 years ago. Pilates and the increased core strength has significantly improved my bicycling and golf - life is good. I can't emphasize enough the many benefits to be gained by regular Pilates training. I would also like to say that choosing Pilates on Main has been a wonderful experience - all of the instructors are absolutely great!
Pilates on Main Offering Class for Cyclists
Pilates on Main is offering a 6-week course specifically designed for cyclists. This 60-minute class offers a “boot camp” style workout that increases core strength and endurance. The entire body is challenged as the class rotates through various pieces of Pilates equipment: Wall Unit, Wunda Chair, and Reformer. Emphasis is given to exercises which target and develop strength in the deep intrinsic muscles of the abdomen and spine, taking pressure off the superficial muscles and promoting more balanced and efficient use. This kind of inner strength training, along with Pilates’ focus on alignment and torso stability will aid cyclists in transferring more power to the pedals by providing a solid platform for the lower body to push against.
“Riding with a weak core can be compared to putting a Porsche engine inside a Hyundai chassis. You can have all the power in the world but with a weak chassis the power will dissipate elsewhere.”
- Cycling Tips
Come on, give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain…
Classes start June 20th and run through August 2nd. The cost for the 6-week course is only $250. There must be a minimum of 5 participants to run the class.
Contact Sue at 435.680.7163 to register. Space is limited to 8 participants.
Meet Marium Kroff - Pilates Instructor
Pilates on Main is thrilled to have Marium Kroff as a Pilates and Yoga instructor. Marium believes that continual physical movement at all ages is paramount to looking good, feeling stronger and living longer. Her classes are structured to teach with energy and knowledge in order to improve both physically and mentally. She believes the combination of the mind and body connection is necessary for our overall health. One look at Marium and it is evident that her strong commitment to physical exercise and healthy life style continues as an integral part of her own life.
Marium completed her Pilates training through Power Pilates, a company based in New York. Power Pilates is dedicated to honoring the integrity of the original method developed by Joseph Pilates. The training addresses the anatomical foundations, ideal and modified movements, and specific verbal and sensory cues to guide students to reach their fullest potential. In addition to her Pilates certification, Marium is certified in aerobics, water aerobics, kick boxing, spinning and personal weight training.
Marium is the proud mother of 5 sons and grandmother to 16 grandchildren. Several have followed in her footsteps with a love of the outdoors and physical fitness. She currently teaches at Green Valley Spa, Entrada Sports Center and Pilates on Main. She also gives lectures and specialty classes to youth groups and other organizations throughout Southern Utah.