Serious cyclists are always looking for that extra something that they can give to their performance. There is always room to improve, whether its speed on the flat, power up a hill or balance and control going down the other side – that’s what it’s all about. Effective training strategies involve arming yourself with the right equipment to test and analyse your performance, changing your diet and complimenting your road training with spinning and targeting weight training.
Have you ever considered giving your cycling performance the Y factor? Yes, that’s right…the yoga factor? Well, maybe you should because 2 World Class cyclists use yoga as part of their training program to give them that edge over their competitors. Do you know who I’m talking about? Our very own Bradley Wiggins is one of them, and the other is 2011 Tour de Force Winner Cadel Evans.
Wiggins uses yoga in his training routine on the core area of the body to ensure that the abdominal muscles match the strength of the back muscles - one of the keys to staying strong and avoiding back pain.
Cadel Evans credits his text book aero tuck position to his yoga practice. He was quoted in a 2011 RIDE Magazine interview as saying "People who know me may remember all those yoga exercises I used to do. No one understood why I spent so much time putting myself into those strange positions. Well, it’s to improve my form on the bike. I sit on the bike with a much flatter back now than I used to three or four years ago, for example.” His enthusiasm for yoga has meant that he was able convince the BMC riding team of the benefits of yoga and they now have their own personal yoga teacher who has become an integral part of their coaching staff.
Beyond the benefits of yoga for core and back strength, it is well known for increasing flexibility of muscles which ensures they will work fast and powerfully, as well as aiding recovery after long rides.
Some of the lesser known, but in my view, probably more powerful benefits of yoga relate to enhanced breathing and ultimately lung capacity as well as mental calm and resilience. ‘You have to keep your chimp in the cage – your ‘chimp’ is your emotional side, and in a pressure situation you have to react with logic, not emotion, ‘ says Wiggins who uses yoga in the battle to maintain focus when racing.
If you want to ride faster, for longer and recover better you should seriously consider bringing yoga into your training regime and give your cycling the Y factor.
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