Q: Why should some form of strength training, hiking, running, walking, or cross-training be included in a cycling program?
A: Although road cycling is gentle on the body, protects the joints, increases aerobic capacity, and burns calories, it does NOT increase muscle strength/hypertrophy above the waist, increase flexibility, balance, or mobility, and for main purpose of this article, does NOT build bone density, which is crucially important both as we age and as a cyclist.
One of the realities of cycling is there is always the potential that we could crash. Competitive sports like soccer, tennis, and hockey help maintain quick reflexes and agility, which may help you get out of a sticky situation. Having a strong core and upper body strength help keep the bike upright (see last week’s post). A general strength training program or weight bearing exercises will help build stronger bones and add additional skeletal muscles to protect the joints. Should have the misfortune of crashing, strong bones may help protect you so you only suffer superficial injuries.
Q: I’m short on time. How can I build bone without adding in another workout?
A: The best exercise is the one that you will do and can easily fit into your schedule. If you don’t have enough time to add in a strength training program, then walking, hiking, or running will all increase bone density. Here are a few tips of how you can add a bit more bone building time into your day:
- Walk more steps throughout the day.
- Take the stairs whenever possible.
- If you work from home, go for a walk around the block before starting your day and again at the end, just like you would if you had to commute to work.
- Start the day with 15 mins of squats, pushups, and some basic lunges or strength training work. Exercise first thing in the morning and keep it short so it doesn’t take up too much time and you are more likely to actually do it.
- When meeting friends for coffee, go for a walk instead of sitting in a cafe.
Q: If have the time, what are the best strength training exercises that will complement my cycling and also build strong bones?
A: Any weight-bearing exercise will turn on the processes to lay down more bone throughout your body. If you want to start a complementary weight training program, focus on the most significant muscles groups such as the core, quadriceps, hamstrings, and back. Unless you are training more than twice a week, avoid chest exercises and bicep curls as these muscles are often overworked and shortened due to too much time spent in flexion (driving, sitting, cycling, texting). Watch for blogs throughout the year on more specific exercises or contact Kristina to book an assessment or personal training session.