Are you a cyclist looking to improve your performance and avoid postural problems: then Pilates can help.
Cycling is a fantastic way to stay fit and healthy, but it can also take a toll on your body. Many cyclists experience postural problems, lower back pain, and tight muscles as a result of spending long hours in the saddle.
In this blog post, we'll explore why Pilates is great for cyclists and how it can help alleviate these common issues.
Postural problems faced by cyclists
While cycling is a fantastic form of exercise that can provide many benefits to your health and fitness, it can also cause a number of postural problems.
Tight hip flexors
But leaning over those handlebars can lead to tight hip flexors which can limit your range of motion.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
A poorly fitting bike or bad biking posture can also lead to chronic sacroiliac (SI) joint pain and even permanent lateral curvature of the lower spine.
Tight neck muscles
Your head posture can also be affected as neck muscles become tight and shortened from looking down at the handlebars for extended periods.
Weak core muscles
Weak core muscles can contribute to poor posture on the bike by allowing the lower back to round or arch excessively leading to discomfort or even injury.
Thankfully, Pilates can help.
Can Pilates actually help the performance of a cyclist?
According to American professional road racing cyclist, Tom Danielson pilates is incredibly valuable for cyclists.
“It’s the precision of pilates that is so valuable to cyclists, and it’s because we’re working on motor and movement skills relevant to cycling.” Tom Danielson
It's the best form of exercise that complements cycling.
Improve your hip flexibility
Pilates exercises focus on opening up the hips and lengthening muscles that sometimes get tight from cycling.
Some example exercises include leg circles, hip rolls and lunges which stretch the hip flexors while promoting proper alignment of the pelvis.
Additionally, Pilates exercises such as bridges or clamshells target gluteal muscles which are important for maintaining good posture on the bike while also providing stability and power during pedalling.
These exercises strengthen not only the glutes but also core muscles which are essential for maintaining balance and stability.
Improve your core stability
Have a good amount of muscle mass? That's great - but are those muscles functioning effectively? Your internal core muscles may have been neglected and these are the ones that are helping you correct postural distortion.
A strong core will stablise your muscle paths to improve your transmission of power from your hips and legs to the pedals of your bike." Tom Danielson, p3, Tom Danielson's Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling's Winning Edge
Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for cyclists as it helps to improve that core strength
while delivering stability. A strong core is essential for efficient cycling as it provides a stable base from which to generate power and maintain proper posture on the bike.
Pilates exercises are designed to target the deep muscles of the abdomen and back that will support your spine and help to maintain good posture. These are excellent for mitigating against lower back pain or other discomforts caused by prolonged hours on the saddle.
Improve your flexibility
"I don't have time for stretching. I'll stretch later. Let's just start riding and I'll losen up. Sound familiar?
The laundry list of excises cyclists use to get out of stretching is long, but no excuse changes the fact that achieving and maintaining optimum flexibility is essential for peak performance.
Flexibility refers to the abilty of the soft tissue to allow full range of motion in joints. Tom Danielson's Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling's Winning Edge
Pilates exercises focus on improving flexibility by stretching and lengthening muscles while also promoting proper alignment of the body. Many Pilates movements involve controlled, flowing motions that help to increase joint mobility and range of motion in the hips, spine, shoulders, hamstrings and other areas important for cycling.
Incorporating Pilates into your cycling training routine can be an effective way to enhance your performance on the bike while also reducing your risk of injury.
If your joints don't have the ability to move, your performance will plummet, because you wont be able to access the full amount of strength and power your muscles can provide." Tom Danielson's Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling's Winning Edge
Help to avoid injury
In addition to building strength and flexibility, Pilates also emphasizes proper alignment of the body which helps cyclists maintain good form while riding. This can reduce the strain placed on certain areas of the body thereby reducing the risk of injury.
With regular practice, Pilates can help make cycling more enjoyable by improving overall performance while reducing the risk of injury!
Pilates for cyclists in Northern Ireland
At All Active Pilates & Physio, we offer a range of online Pilates classes for cyclists. Our reformer pilates classes will also help you build up your core strength and muscles that will help you with cycling, golf and tennis too!