Yoga for cyclists
My love of cycling began in my teens when I would disappear all day on my bike exploring the surrounding countryside and has continued and evolved over the following decades. I am currently an age-group triathlete competing in both on and off-road triathlons. My passions are also my work as a Cycle Coach, Triathlon Coach, and Sports Specialist Yoga Teacher. I coach alongside my husband, also a coach, delivering bespoke online coaching plans for cyclists and triathletes, and running small training camps at our venue in Portugal.
Yoga has something to offer everybody. Whilst people often think of yoga as primarily for stretching, there can be so many more benefits. It can improve joint mobility, functional movement patterns, balance/proprioception, strength, breath control, and relaxation in addition to flexibility.
Mobility – We tend to take on the postural form and mobility of our daily life activities. Ideally, we are active and move in all possible planes of movement throughout each day. In reality, we spend much of our time in limited ranges of movement and repetitive actions. There are many small yoga movements that can improve or maintain the mobility of all the joints of the body. I use them often also as an assessment of a person’s mobility. Those which are found to be most diffcult or restricted are then prioritised for working on.
Functional movement – Combining a range of three-dimensional, multi-joint movements in a variety of ways will give you a good value training return. On the bike, we need to be able to deal with forces from difference directions according to the demands of the terrain we are cycling on. By introducing movements in all planes (sagittal, frontal, and transverse) in your training, your body will be conditioned to deal with the sometimes chaotic forces on the bike.
Working with the whole body in a sequence of postures means that every part of the body will be involved in some way; some muscles working to stabilise joints whilst others work to create the required movement. By working with awareness of alignment and movement patterns, your proprioception will develop and positive habits created on the yoga mat will become part of your movement and awareness on the bike. Any postures can be linked to create functional movement but you may wish to use a particular sequence such as Salute To The Sun as a starting point to help you develop a regular practice…