I am sure most of us can relate to the misery that injury causes us. After I had to drop out of my Thames challenge, an injury that had been kept at bay for months, all of a sudden lost its rag and has been with me ever since. It’s now been five months and with my plan to return to the Thames at the end of the summer, I am doing everything I can to prevent it from ruining the experience and causing long-term damage.
Luckily, there are some experts out there to help me.
As part of a training plan from coach Cat Benger (of ABCpure) I am learning about the benefits of strength and conditioning in ways that can help improve both my cycling and running but also prevent further injury. In this post, Cat explains the theory behind this and shows us some moves we can do at home as part of our quest to get strong and prevent injury.
Training on a consistent basis is key for any runner and/or cyclist to maximise their performance and achieve success in their chosen sport. Often our approach to strength and conditioning (S&C) training is to wait until it’s broken and then get fixed. You should view S&C as an essential part of a balanced, well-structured training plan and as injury prevention as opposed to rehab. Common cycling and running complaints, niggles or injuries can be largely preventable if you’re prepared to incorporate regular S&C sessions, and it doesn’t have to mean long, boring trips to the gym or lots of expensive home fitness equipment.
So why do we need it?
An increase in the strength and power of the legs will improve your cycling efficiency through the application of greater force through each of the pedal strokes. Our muscles are “wired” to perform functions and move in a particular way. If the muscles are not performing as they should and, instead, allowing fellow muscle to take the load, it will eventually start causing you pain.
S&C also helps co-ordination, balance and delays the on-set of fatigue and poor form creeping in. It also increases your functional strength which is our performance of daily movements and tasks, for example climbing the stairs, lifting arms above your head and running for the bus! It is key the exercises and movements are performed correctly with proper form and technique. Quality over quantity is definitely the desirable here. Here are a few practical pointers before you get going:
1. It is recommended doing 2-3 S&C sessions per week
2. Keep the movements controlled, starting with small ranges.
3. Once comfortable, increase the range of movement without sacrificing quality and/or control
4. Start with a low number of repetitions and low weight (where applicable), then gradually increase with the principle that never sacrifices quality
5. Take adequate rest between rounds
6. If you feel any pain, then stop the exercise immediately
It’s really important to remember that everyone is different and there are lots of factors that will influence the frequency and type of session. It’s a good idea to get the advice of a coach or trainer to ensure that you are performing these exercises correctly and in a schedule that suits your individual needs.
For more guidance, get in touch with Cat at www.abcpure.com