Sunday, 11 December 2011

Injuries

The large majority in injuries, strains and sprains that cyclists have are preventable.  Often they are old injuries exaggerated by the muscle growth caused by cycling or simply by a lack of care taken by many.  Without realising it a large proportion of cyclists, especially those who commute do not take the time to stretch before or after their ride.  Challenges also arise by not consciously looking to train the muscles off the bike as well.  Multi-sport or event training is important to prevent overuse injuries as well as maintain a balanced physique.  There is a reason why professionals hit the gym as well as spend copious amounts of time on their bikes.

As a previous personal Trainer as well as cyclist with damaged knees, I talk with a relative level of expertise.  My recent visit to the Physio made me think I was defiantly not the only one to have problems because they are not taking full care of themselves enough.  Yes I should know better!!
 
The very nature of our sport encourages growth of the quadriceps and in particular the Vastus Lateralis (the outside part of the thigh) and the Rectus Femorus. Often the Vastus Medialisl is gets under worked and thus weaker than the other 2.  This causes a mal tracking of the Patella (Knee Cap), causing inflammation and pain.  Long term this can also lead to ligament and cartilage damage.  The pain is often in the inside of the knee.

Another common condition caused by cycling is short or tight hamstrings.  This occurs as a cyclist rarely fully extends their leg and thus the hamstring always works in a semi lengthened condition.  Over time without effective stretching and strength work the muscle becomes tight causing pain in the leg as well as often further up in the glutes as well as the lower back.  A major cause of lower back pain is caused by poor Hamstrings


How do I prevent these injuries?

Basically, if you don't already have an injury that needs specific and professional advice, you need to start stretching before and after each session.   In addition you need to add some weight training exercise to ensure a balanced training plan which also includes core work.  Oh yes I forgot to say, cycling is not great at working the core muscles either!!

I have attached a few popular stretches below for you to try, advice ranges but I suggest holding stretches for 20-30 seconds and do 5 on each muscle.  You are not simply looking to warm up and cool down but increase your flexibility which is vital in injury prevention.


                                        http://sportsgirlsplay.com/stretching-with-kermit-the-frog/

                                                http://www.yorkshirekneesurgery.co.uk/page8.html

There is a huge amount of information on the tinternet about stretching, exercises you can do at home or best of all, if you have time join a gym an get some professional advice.

P.s - if you get to this level my work is done!!!

1 comment:

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