Feb 19, 2014

Off-Season Training : Get in the Gym!

The off-season is no vacation; training doesn't stop, it just changes.  The goal is to recover, then prepare for the next season.   While the majority of my training is done on my bike, the winter is a great period to mix things up and get some cross-training in!

At any given moment in my life, I never yearned to be older than I was. Except as a kid, when I came across a gym. Knowing I was too little and too young to get in that mysterious, magical room filled with intriguing equipment, I couldn't help but wish a few years of my youth away so I could get in there and PLAY. There wasn't much point wasting time on a wish like that, so, I would go and ride my bike instead...

I'm (kind of) all grown up now, and today an important part of-off season training takes place in the gym.  I have a consult with an expert who thoroughly evaluates how my body performs and reacts in many different situations.  Specific reconditioning and strengthening programs are established, and they evolve in unison with my progress througout the winter.
We use dumbbells and kettle-bells, elastic bands and resistance machines to build strength. I twist and turn and balance into all kinds of movements and positions to build stability and program proper muscle memory.

A lot of the routine consists in helping my body become more stable, more flexible, and utlimately stronger and more efficient on the bike. Many of the exercises have no apparent relevance to cycling at first sight. And a good part of them are repetitive and sometimes even tedious (...if I'm hungry for lunch) But by diligently going through the motions on a structured and regular schedule, improvements on the bike become apparent. Amongst other things, I've increased my hip flexibility, straightened out a crooked riding position and am working towards a better pedal stroke.
I also spend a lot of time stretching and doing myofascial release work with my Travel Roller. I bring my own Travel Roller, packed with a printout of my strengthening and reconditioning routine, and an assortment accessories that I use for my exercises. Since the Travel Roller is hollow and has meshed ends that close up securely with an elastic, it's ideal for toting around my extra stuff in one simple package. When it's possible to use the same tools wherever I am, I do. So, I bring my Travel Roller everywhere I go.
Some of the stuff that I can pack into my Travel Roller..there's usually even more in there...!

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