Updated: Oct 23, 2018
As well as the rise of runners, the amount of cyclists are also on the rise. People are now opting for their 2 wheeled friend to replace their other transport options. Also, if you don’t like running as an exercise, cycling is a way more enjoyable option. City goers are now seeing the benefit of cycling as opposed to driving; traffic, congestion charges and parking fees make that option an expensive one.
Not only are people opting for cycling as a different mode of transport, more than ever people are signing up to triathlons and ironman’s. The amount of races that are now available are incredible, every village and town now has their own race. So, before you grab your 1990’s Rayleigh bike out of the garage and hop on to the rock-solid seat, let’s make sure your body is ready first! After a long ride on your bike, you’ll have tightness’s that you might not even know existed. Sitting on the bike and turning your legs for an extended period of time is sure to cause some fatigue, so I’ll show you ways to combat the problems and keep you on the road.
As you can see from the picture, the majority of the leg muscles are used when cycling. Some may be working a little harder than the rest, but they all work in unison to generate the force when pedalling. Here are the main areas to focus on to make sure the flexibility is maintained in your legs. Releasing trigger points in the muscles will help create more flexibility at a joint, which in turn will create a better range of motion. If a joint has a larger range of motion, the more potential it has to create more power.
1. Hip flexors - Place either the single ball of peanut ball on the floor and lay face down so that the ball is right at the top of your quad, next to your hip bone. Apply pressure onto the ball and identify some sore spots around the area. If you find a sore point, keep the pressure constant and let your body relax onto it, you can also try some knee flexions to release the spot in different contractions.
2. Calves - Place either the single ball or peanut ball on the floor and place your leg on top of it. Apply pressure down onto the ball and ensure to move the ball around to target all areas. If you find a sore spot of tender point, keep the pressure constant until you can feel the pain subside. You can also play around with ankle movement to create different contractions on the calves.
3. Hamstrings – Place either the single ball or peanut ball on the floor and place your hamstrings on top of it. Apply the pressure down onto the ball and work the whole length of the leg. Use cross frictions on the hamstrings to make sure you get into all the areas. If you feel like you can get enough downward pressure, find a box or bench to sit on and place the ball under the leg, then pull down onto the ball. You can also extend and flex and the knee to contract and relax the hamstrings.
4. Shins – Place the single ball on the floor so your shin is above it. Apply the pressure down onto the front of your leg, aiming just next to the shin bone. Make sure to roll the whole shin and identify the sore points.
5. Quads – Place the single ball or peanut ball on the floor and lay face down so the ball is placed just above the knee. Raise yourself up on your elbows and apply the pressure down on the quads. Be sure not to push on the bone and only on the musculature. Try knee flexion and extension of the knee when pressing on the ball to work on the muscle in different contractions.
These are the release techniques you need to be including in your warm-up and/or cool-down. Ensuring your bodies flexibility remains high will allow more efficient and powerful legs. These techniques do not take long and will help you endlessly with your training.
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