Personal Training. Week 12: Preventing Injury
Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING weekly blog.
Here you will find weekly updates designed to educate you on strength and conditioning for cycling. Over the coming weeks I will be covering all aspects of conditioning your body for cycling and how it can benefit you in terms of comfort, speed, and improving your riding. So, without further delay. Let’s get right into this week’s entry!
This week I want to talk to you about injuries, a part and parcel of any sport and something that makes you feel so frustrated and bored when they happen to you. While you can’t prevent injuries happening you can do everything you can to minimise the chances of a crash resulting in an injury. Today I will cover three ways you can make sure your body stays in prime shape to fight off injuries:
The first topic I am going to cover is the simple matter of being strong. Having a strong physique can build up your body’s tolerance to stress (riding, training, crashing, repetitive strain). Having a bit of muscle on you can also provide you with a sheet of armour.
There is a popular saying in rugby which is “Muscle is the best body armour”. While cycling doesn’t require anywhere near as much muscle mass as rugby you could still benefit from having a degree of mass to your body.
Look at the cross-country guys now and even the roadies, they have started to gain a bit of lean muscle mass as the benefits are out there to see.
So, get yourself a good strength programme and work on building up a strong body. This is one way to improve the chances of not being injured when you crash.
Something that a lot of us overlook but arguably the most important component of a strength and conditioning plan. One example of this out of the cycling world would be Ryan Giggs. Suffering from back problems in the early years he soon took up yoga, this elevated the pain and he went on to carry on playing top flight football, for one of the best teams in the world into his 40’s!
Mobility is key for sports where any collision is possible as the more mobile you are, the more your body can move in the event of a crash. Going over the bars is a key example of this. Going OTB and falling in a funny position can really damage joints like the shoulder and elbow. But if you are mobile, there is more movement in that joint. Whereas stiff people will land, and something has to give. 9/10 it isn’t the ground that gives in that situation.
Adding some basic stretching and yoga into your training can be incredibly beneficial to your body and it is so easy to source. PINKBIKE even has a series of you tube videos specifically for cycling.
So, don’t neglect your body. And mobilise!
Again, another key component of fitness here. Recovering your body after a ride or training session is key. When we train or ride, we damage our body and deplete its energy stores. If we don’t repair them and maintain them, they will eventually break.
Think of your body as a bike. If you ride it long enough without checking it, washing it or maintaining worn parts then eventually something on it is going to break. Usually it’s a mech, or a snapped chain. These are costly to fix financially. If your shoulder was a mech it would be equally as costly to fix. But the currency would be time. Time away from your bike, time spent recovering and rehabilitating your shoulder.
Take good care of your body by recovering after your rides and training sessions with good food, stretching and even using hot baths (after half an hour) to get more blood to the muscles and increase the amount of oxygen they get.
There is also evidence for and against ice baths but that is for another day.
Ice on an injury however immediately after exercise is great. So, if you do have a knee issue, or an ankle issue get some ice on it after a ride and decrease the inflammation.
You also recover when you sleep, getting 8 hours of sleep a night is paramount. Lebron James tries to make sure he has 10 hours of sleep a night. While he is a professional athlete he can. But Regular humans can get at least 7-8 hours sleep a night if they are serious about taking care of their body.
There you go. Three ways to limit the injury risk you pose when on the bike. I hope you found this blog useful and as always feel free to comment and get in touch with content ideas and questions you want answered.