It is incredibly common in riders to have some sort of pain issue-we’re a broken population! Yet of course we are tough cookies and we don’t let that stop us from enjoying our sport.
Often when I speak to riders about their own exercise programme (or lack of..) I will hear things like “I can’t do that because it hurts my back, knee, ankle…. insert extensive list of body parts”.
I get it. Exercise particularly when new to your body can be uncomfortable. However if approached correctly can improve those pain issues over time.
Weakness, instability, over use etc. Can all cause pain. So when we exercise the aim should be to build a solid, balanced foundation.
This then transfers into every day life including your riding. If you are able to support your own body weight, have good muscular control and good endurance this makes the demands of your day much easier for your body.
What should we be prioritising in our training to create a good foundation?
Firstly as I call it “build a bum like Beyoncé “. The glutes are the biggest muscle in the body. They are fundamental to supporting the pelvis and spine which then impacts on how the rest of your body can move and perform. This is even more important if you do suffer with back or hip pain. Build a bum you can bounce a ball off and see how it affects your body-I promise it’s worth the effort 🍑.
Secondly your back. This is often so overlooked in training programmes, particularly with women as we aren’t usually after the big shoulders and lats. However as with the glutes, how can we expect our spine to work well and pain free if we don’t give it a proper support network? The back muscles are also part of our core. The ability to use the abdominals together with the back is what creates a solid core, neglecting one in favour of the other creates imbalance.
The abdominals. Not just the superficial layers that burn when you do lots of crunches. You also need the deep layers, the side of your waist and the lower abdominal and pelvic floor all to be able to work together in order to create true stability and core strength.
I should also mention the legs, as a good set of thighs will further support the hips, and also the knees. Most glute work will include the legs though so they wouldn’t have to be considered in isolation.
This may all sound quite complicated but for the most part it just involves basic compound exercises and movement patterns. However if you do want some help in building your foundation a good coach can help you, and I happen to know one of those…..