Welcome to another installment of Training Tips with ATHX. You won't find on-bike training tips in these posts, but rather, stretches and simple exercises that you should be doing to aid in injury prevention and even increase power output.
Why: Like most things leg related and cycling, there's always going to be some downsides to spending most of your spare time spinning the exact same circles in generally the exact same position. The main muscles being used get over-developed (good), but the muscles that remain shortened get tight (bad).
Tight adductors can cause a range of issues, causing hip and/or knee problems, as well as cause a lack of strength in your outer glutes (which play a big role in power production in your pedal stroke)
How: Crouch down on your hands and knees, with your back straight and parallel to the ground. Stick one leg as far out to the side as you comfortably can, then slowly push your hips back until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
Hamstring/IT Band Stretch
Why: The IT Band acts as an anchor during your pedal stroke, which can impact your knees and glutes. As far as injury prevention goes, it's important to keep the IT band from pulling your knee improperly. The hamstrings also play a role in your pedalstroke, but I've found they are one of the easier muscles to forget to stretch. I've rarely felt like my hamstrings were tight/uncomfortable/in need of a good stretch, even though they have often been quite tight once I actually get in there.
How: Loop a long band over the ball of your foot and lay flat on your back. Pull your leg straight up into the air (or as straight as you can while keeping your back flat on the ground and feeling a deep, yet comfortable, stretch). Hold straight and steady. This should get into your hamstring. To stretch your IT bands, let your leg fall to either side, then hold.
Want more training tips from ATHX? Visit their website to book an appointment or join a training class: www.ATHXPerformance.com