One of my favorite catch phrases as an RMT is telling my clients “if you train like an athlete, you have to take care of yourself like an athlete”. We tend to forget that we need to be careful with our bodies. Making time for stretching, proper hydration and ensuring we take time off for adequate muscle recovery and rebuilding are critical. The older we get the more strenuous sports and activity become on our muscles, bones and joints. Age and degeneration are a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take part in our favorite sports just because the candles on the birthday cake keep increasing! By taking preventative measure against injury and we can maximize our years of enjoyment.
Massage Therapy is GREAT for cyclists-
All the major muscles below the belt are used when cycling. As a Massage Therapist I use a number of techniques when working on athletic clients like active stretching and active release therapy techniques .
Having a Sports Massage every few weeks when you’re actively cycling will help prevent against injury, stretch out fascial restrictions and push your muscles to stretch further than you could on your own. This helps decrease potential injury and is thought to aid in muscle repair and rebuilding.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while riding to help prevent against injury and maximize your time enjoying the sport.
Core – work at building a strong core (abdominal and back muscles) . This ensures a stable riding position and helps energy focus towards driving you forward instead of keeping up in a stable upright position.
Shoulders – Don’t hunch forward. Hunched shoulders create neck and back tension and pain. Try and push down your shoulders to make sure they are in a relaxed position.
Leg alignment – legs should be in a straight line from hip to knee to ankle to pedal, with a slight bend in the knee when the leg is fully extended down on the pedal in riding position. Having a bike that fits, and a proper seat height will help optimise your body’s efficiency and take the strain off your legs and ankles.
Saddle – make sure your backside is placed squarely on the saddle.
Pedaling – push down and pull up on the pedals. This ensures you are using the entire muscle group range which avoids fatigue, generates balanced muscle strength and gains you power.
Handlebars – maintain a grip that keeps you in control but avoid gripping too tight which unnecessarily uses arm and shoulder energy.
Don’t know if you’re doing it right?—Mark Rickard at The Bike Pedaler sure does and is more than happy to show you.