Monday, November 4, 2013

Chill'n out and doing some focused strength exercises

Since the crash in August I've been keeping it pretty low key. Not that I've had much of a choice, between a wicked concussion that kept me off the bike for about 6 weeks, and then realizing just how badly I'd messed up my knee once I was back on the bike. I've also continued to have some lingering Crohn's related ick. So, I'm continuing to ride it out, and try to enjoy the time I can get out on the open road even if it's at an easy pace.

The benefit of the easier pace is that I get to spend time with our newest riders on the Yale team. And, I must say, I do love helping folks master cycling skills like pacelining, cornering, and climbing hills! Getting to see the huge gains in confidence and the satisfaction of mastering a new skill is so satisfying.

40 degrees and sunny in New Haven! 

Plus, it's fall. And autumn riding means we are back to base miles anyway, so my easy pace is right on target.

I've also been taking the time to work on some other stuff while I've been in the saddle less.

The problem areas:

- Core strength: I have terrible core strength, which is likely because I have trouble with ab spasms on my ostomy side if I do much direct core work like sit ups.

- Medial leg strength: It's easy in cycling to work only the front and back muscles, as we have no side to side movement.

- Gluteus Medius strength: Yep, that's the muscles on the side of my butt. A lot of cyclists have  this issue. Have you ever seen a competitive cyclist on a bike and noticed that the side of his butt looked almost indented? That's the gluteus medius underdeveloped. And, according to my physical therapist friend (it was a strange night of casual consults and laughing about it), mine are sincerely lacking.  She said that my "massively hypertrophied hamstrings" had been doing all the work instead.

The remedy: 

- planks! Oh man, I am terrible at these. But, I'm making myself do at least 5 sets of holding it for 30 seconds with keeping good form before bed every night.

- Spider-mans: 2 sets of ten. From a plank-like position with your arms straight, bring one knee out to the side and touch it to your elbow. Then bring it back together with your other leg. Now do the same on the other side. This should make you side ab and back muscles burn.

- cross training: and by this, I mean cyclocross training. Yes. Running, leaping onto a built up road bike with knobby tires, and then jumping over barriers and roots. It's good for building stability in all of those other little muscles that don't get used in just moving forward. Still not sure what cyclocross is? Check it out:

- Actually cross training: Really, not bicycling. Walking vigourously while focusing on form - ie, not compensating for my lack of gluteus medius muscles by using just legs. It's suprisingly difficult to focus on using butt muscles while walking. Try it.

- Thigh master like it's 1992: Just kidding. But, same idea, squeezing a soccer ball between my knees while doing a slightly more upright wall sit. This targets the muscle groups on the inside of the thighs without activating the larger quad group.

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