Yoga and Pilates Conditioning for Cyclists

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12/3/2003| 0 comments
by Jane Beezer, MS

Yoga and Pilates Conditioning for Cyclists

Lack of flexibility can contribute to muscular imbalance, and eventually lead to injury.

balance.   Like Yoga, Pilates also emphasizes deep, thoracic breathing to help increase lung capacity and circulation.

 

Getting started

The best way for the novice Yoga and/or Pilates student to get started is through a local gym or studio that conducts group classes.   Under the watchful eve of an instructor you will be taught the proper alignment and sequence of movements for each discipline.   A trained instructor can also emphasize particular postures and movements tailored to the individual.   This can be of great help in offsetting the imbalances caused by the demands of cycling.   Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a class to attend:

 

Class level and type

Make sure to attend a class at your level of competence.   Just as a Cat. IV rider couldn?t jump into a Pro/1/2 race, don?t expect to perform in an Advanced Yoga class on your first try.   Yoga classes taught in the Hatha, Ashtanga or Kripala style would be most beneficial to athletes.

 

Instructor certification

Ask your local studio or gym what the minimum level of certification and experience required of their instructors.   Look for instructors with formal training and more than 3 years of experience.   You can also search for qualified Pilates instructors at http://www.pilatesmethodalliance.com/ and Yoga instructors at http://www.yogajournal.com/

 

Class size and length

Obviously, the smaller the class size, the more individual attention you will receive.   Look for classes of 20 or fewer students per instructor.   Beginner level classes are typically 60 minutes in length and can be up to 90 minutes long at the intermediate level and above.

 

Implementing the program

Consistency is the key to all conditioning programs and Pilates and Yoga are no different.   Dropping in on a class here and there may have some short-term gain, but long-term improvements offered by Pilates and Yoga work can only be gained by a committed program.   Begin your new conditioning program by committing to 2-3 classes per week for 10-12 weeks.   During the first week or two, try several different classes, taught by different instructors.   Chances are, one will be more suited to your personal style.   You may find Yoga more appealing than Pilates or vise versa.   If you enjoy both, it?s fine to do one class of each per week.   Once you have identified a class to attend, try to stick with the same class and instructor each week.   This makes the routine easier and will also enable the instructor to tune into your individual strengths and weaknesses.   Over time, your instructor can work on specific moves and postures tailored to your individual needs.   Make sure to write these conditioning classes into your weekly training plan, just as you would a training ride.  

 

Both Pilates and Yoga typically require recovery periods of 24-hours, so schedule these workouts accordingly.   If attending just 2 classes per week, a Monday & Thursday or Tuesday & Friday routine seem to work

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