Cycling Training Tips for Clients

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As a PT, it’s your responsibility to make sure your client improves and succeeds in any sphere of exercise that they choose. If they take up the cycling bug with the onset of 2016 then we think we have some advice that will help you to help them with their cycling training.

The learning curve is always the most difficult but if you can help your client to establish a good exercise and stretch regime that is tailored to the bike, the rest can take care of itself and your client can go out and enjoy rides with friends and family. Or, if your client is competing in cycling events, help them to achieve their goals, whether that is just crossing the line or gaining a new personal best!

1. Have a leg day

Ivan Basso, the two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia, best known for his long-distance climbing, says ‘preparing your legs in the gym is so important – it makes the biggest difference on the bike’. Quadriceps might be more dominant than hamstrings when cycling but it’s essential to strengthen both. Using resistance based movements is beneficial as it will help when sprinting and increase resistance to fatigue…good news if you’re in for a hilly ride.

Good quad exercises? Ones that use high force production like lifting weights and uphill bike riding. Avoid excessive catabolic activities like running or long, easy cardio sessions.

Good hamstring exercises? Ones that focus on mobility and range of motion as well as strength, such as leg curls, box jumps, and deadlifts.

2. Core up

A strong core is fundamental to good cycling but easily forgotten about because so much attention is on building leg strength. While also important, it is the core that keeps the body stable on the saddle. Over the course of a 3+ hour ride, all parts of our core – abs, obliques, muscles around the spine – endure pressure. The stronger your core is, the more efficient your cycling, and the less likely you are to overcompensate with other muscles which can lead to overuse injuries.

Good core exercises? Plank, jack-knifes, squats, Russian twists.

3. A pain in the back

Once experienced, back pain has a habit of recurring time and time again and although prevented by correct exercises, the nature of cycling can also exacerbate back pain. If your client is suffering, you neither want them to withdraw completely from exercise nor put up with the pain. Aside from making sure their position is right on the bike, you can help them with back strengthening exercises. Bridges are often regarded as the king of back exercises – you can do them anywhere as they don’t require equipment. However, it is equally important to improve back flexibility. The occasional yoga or pilates class is great for this, not to mention a proper cool down and stretch session after every workout.

We’ve also put together a kind of checklist for your client…factors that, if we were a client, we would be measuring our PT by!

  • We’re not suffering from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) because our workout has been followed by a thorough stretch session.
  • Our stamina has improved over both shorter race distances as well as longer rides so the focus isn’t just on speed work.
  • We have a structure to our training sessions and can identify our progress curve
    The exercises we’re doing are suitable for what we want to achieve…no bicep curling for cycle training!
  • Our progress is being reviewed as we go along and new targets are being created.
    We feel energized on our rides, knowing that nutrition and hydration is important.
  • Finally, we look forward to each session and working with our PT!

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