Friday, 19 April 2013

Fitness Friday!

As I mentioned before, bi-monthly there will be a Fitness Friday post from CL, who is a sports scientist as well as a personal trainer. CL currently owns FitnessLab, a private gym, which focuses on the right kind of training going forward.

In Fitness Friday sessions, there will be discussion on everything, from stretching right, to training the right way for the race ahead, to eating right. You can follow him on twitter @Fitnesslab or on the Facebook 

So let's get started with some stretching!

The Art of Foam Rolling:

With many hours spent on the bike climbing those unforgiving hills and putting the hammer down as we near the finish, our muscles and joints take quite a beating. Recovering from a day of cycling is very important to ensure that we are able to get back on that bike the next day and compete at the same levels. Now, ideally a full body massage would serve the purpose to ready our body for another day of tough cycling but having our own massage therapist is very pricey and improbable. However, the foam roller is the next best thing to a massage, in fact it is a form of massage but there are no scented oils or calming music in the background. This form of massage is self inflicted pain that makes you wonder if this is actually going to help and whether enduring stiffness the next day is a better option.

Foam rolling helps with self - myofascial release which is medical terminology for “helping release the tightness within muscles”. Very much like a massage helps alleviate stiff joints and knotted muscles, foam rolling encourages soft pliable muscles and mobile joints. If our joints have sufficient mobility and our muscles are at optimal length and tension, our body as a system will function better resulting in a better sporting performance.

Most cyclists complain of lower back pain and thigh stiffness after a long day in the saddle. To lessen pain there are two rolling movements you can use to encourage circulation and delay muscle soreness.  The first movement has you lying on your lumbar part of your back and rolling back and forth. It is a small area to roll but is often the most affected by cycling due to the “hunched” over position causing stress and pain during long cycles.

Movement number two is for the quadriceps (thigh muscles). These muscles are prime movers during cycling and also tend to shorten due to the repetitive cycling action. By rolling them we ensure they stay at an optimal length allowing for maximal power output as well as remove any toxins built up from hours on the bike.

Make your rolling movements long and at a steady pace. Rolling the entire length of the muscles is essential to prevent stiffness and pain. You can do 10 rolls per muscle group to start out

Happy Rolling!

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