Pilates for Cyclists
Cycling is one of the fastest growing leisure activities around the world and is becoming evermore popular in Dubai. Dubai has not traditionally been seen as a cyclists haven however over the past decade we have seen more cycle paths in the city and the desert with cycling races popping up over the city. Whether you cycle as a professional or as a leisure activity is it worth adding Pilates to your workout routine?
Although a great cardiovascular activity, cycling is not without its issues. Many cyclists can experience pain, with the most likely areas being neck, back and knee. Sitting for prolonged periods in a flexed forward position can put extra pressure on your spine, shoulders and neck. Riding without thought of your spinal posture can lead to increased lumbar and thoracic flexion coupled with hyperextension of your neck if you want to actually be able to see the road ahead! All this can end up with you looking like a turtle! Pilates as a tool for increasing postural awareness is key for cyclists. Pilates exercises incorporate the full range of spinal movements- flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation and as such can aid trunk flexibility and increase rider comfort. If you have no awareness of correct spinal alignment then Pilates could be a great addition to your routine.
Pilates is also a great way to help balance issues of muscle shortness from being on a bike for long periods of time. Creating power on the bike requires strong yet not tight glutes, quads,hip flexors and hamstrings. Lengthening the hamstrings is key to aiding movement of the pelvis and preventing lower back pain and balanced leg muscles will help prevent injury and ensure correct knee placement during downstroke of pedalling as the knee extends. Balance is key. In order to generate power, pelvic and lumbar stability coupled with hip mobility is essential. Pilates is known for promoting correct core activation to stabilise the pelvis alongside mobilising joints to help increase their range of motion.
Key areas Pilates can help with include:
- spinal posture, mobility and flexibility
- increased pelvis control coupled with hip mobility
- lengthening of tight muscles
- neck mobility
Try adding Pilates to your workout and let us know how you get on!