Injuries are an unfortunate likelihood of any sport. While you can’t always guarantee stopping injuries from happening, you can minimise your chances of getting one. Here are my top three ways that you can make sure your body stays in prime shape to fight off injuries.
The factor is the simple matter of being strong. Having a strong physique can build up your body’s tolerance to stress (riding, training, crashing, repetitive strain). Having a bit of muscle on you is a little like covering you with a sheet of armour.
There is a popular saying in rugby which is “Muscle is the best body armour”. While cycling doesn’t require anywhere near as much muscle mass as rugby, you might still benefit from having a degree of mass to your body.
Look at the cross-country guys now and even the roadies, they have started to gain a bit of lean muscle mass as the benefits are out there to see.
Get yourself started with a good strength programme and work on building up a strong body.
Mobility, something that a lot of us overlook but arguably the most important component of a strength and conditioning plan. One perfect example of this out of the cycling world would be Ryan Giggs. Suffering from back problems in the early years he soon took up yoga, this reduced the pain and he went on to carry on playing top flight football for one of the best teams in the world in his 40’s!
Mobility is key for sports where any collision is possible as, the more mobile you are, the more your body can move in the event of a crash. Going over the bars is a key example of this. Going OTB and falling in a funny position can really damage joints like the shoulder and elbow, but if you are mobile, there is more movement in that joint.
Adding some basic stretching and yoga into your training can be incredibly beneficial to your body and it is so easy to do and can become a family activity.
Recovering your body after a ride or training session is key. When we train or ride, we damage our body and deplete its energy stores. If we don’t repair them, and maintain them, they will eventually break.
Think of your body as a bike. If you ride it long enough without checking it, washing it or maintaining worn parts, then eventually something on it is going to break. If your shoulder was a mech, it would be equally as costly to fix, but the currency here would be time. Time away from your bike, and time spent recovering and rehabilitating your shoulder.
Take good care of your body by recovering after your rides and training sessions with good food, stretching and even using hot baths (after half an hour) to get more blood to the muscles and increase the amount of oxygen they get.
Ice on an injury however immediately after exercise is great. If you do have a knee issue, or an ankle issue get some ice on it after a ride and decrease the inflammation.
You also recover when you sleep, getting 8 hours of sleep a night is paramount. Lebron James tries to make sure he has 10 hours of sleep a night. While he is a professional athlete he can, but Regular humans can get at least 7-8 hours sleep a night if they are serious about taking care of their body.
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About The Author: Adam Copley
Adam is a self-employed coach based in Sheffield, UK. Alongside this he is an avid cyclist and competes in cross country mountain biking across the UK. He has raced Cyclocross during the winter and is also a huge lover of road cycling. While he's not working on his business, he is usually out on two wheels getting fitter, and enjoying the fresh air and many climbs in the peak district.