Yoga and Pilates Conditioning for Cyclists
Lack of flexibility can contribute to muscular imbalance, and eventually lead to injury.
best. No set rules exist regarding placement of Yoga and Pilates classes relative to cycling workouts. But since these are workouts designed to stretch and lengthen muscles it makes most sense to perform them either after your cycle training or on days you are off the bike completely.
An excellent time to get started with your Yoga and/or Pilates program is during the Transition and Foundation Periods of your annual training plan. Since these periods are characterized by a reduced volume and intensity of cycle training, you will have more time available to devote to other types of conditioning. With the long competitive season behind you, you are certain to have some aches and pains to work out.
As your training program progresses into the Preparation and Specialization Periods and your on-the-bike volume increases, it may be difficult to maintain several conditioning classes per week. Rather than completely drop your Yoga/Pilates conditioning work, simply shorten the session to a 20-30 minute routine that can be done at home or while traveling. This can be accomplished by working with your instructor to come up with a streamlined routine based on what you have learned in class. Additional resources include tapes and DVDs that you can pop in and follow whenever it?s convenient, eliminating the time it takes to travel to the gym. A good selection of Yoga and Pilates VHS tapes and Yoga and Pilates DVDs can be found at Amazon (please support Roadcycling.com by using the links in this article when buying).
The repetitive motion of cycling places a high demand on some muscle groups while de-emphasizing others. The result is an imbalance in muscle flexibility, endurance and strength, particularly to the opposing muscle groups of the leg and torso. These imbalances are biomechanically inefficient and can lead to overuse injuries, the most common form of injury among cyclists. Implementing a Yoga and/or Pilates routine during the off-season and carrying it into your next competitive season will improve flexibility and help prevent injury. You will also benefit from improved strength, balance, posture, and core stability. Not a bad return on just 2-3 hours of training per week.
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