Book review - STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR CYCLISTS

Authors Phil Burt and Martin Evans continue the knowledge transfer from British Cycling with STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR CYCLISTS - Off the Bike Conditioning for Performance and Life.

For the past few years I have begun to notice the signs that I am an over-adapted cyclist, I've tried to running but it hurt too much, my upper body was weak and I didn't know where to start with stretching. Each season I would tell myself that I should do some strength work, but would graduate back to on the bike training and focusing on the CTL line... 

This book takes a different approach to anything that I have seen before, describing a process as well as the benefits of investing some time in to it.

Before considering entering a gym, first comes Range of Motion Assessments. You can do them at home and are simple to do, but it is easier with someone to watch what you are doing. If (in my case when) you fail any of the tests, and for each one, a course of stretching is prescribed. 

After a couple of weeks of regular stretching, I was able to pass some of the range of motion tests and move on to the Control Through Range assessments.

As expected, I failed the assessments and corrective exercises were prescribed. 

After about 6 weeks of following the process I felt confident to go to the gym. 

It is a fairly lengthy process but the time investment each week isn't too onerous and feeling results is encouraging. 

The only essential equipment is a foam roller, although using elastics made the hamstring stretch particularly effective. 

The longer-term premise is to do Range of Motion tests before a gym session and to focus on stretching instead if you fail, and it seems to be a good mechanism to prevent injury so far.

I have become much more in tune with my body and have begun to realise that most aches and pains can be fixed with stretching, although I'm still learning that the area that needs stretching often is not the area in pain...

Of the pile of sports self help books I own, this has seen the most regular use and has provided some significant direct benefits. 

If like me, you want to learn how to integrate strength and conditioning in to your cycling training, this is well worth a read.