After a full season of riding, some of you may be feeling a little beat up by the road, wind, and your bike. If so, here are three great exercises that’ll help you feel a bit more limber. But even if you don’t feel stiff from riding, you should change your routine often for maximum results, and this series is a good way to do that.
Our first movement, reverse hyperextensions, appeared in the January issue. This is a great exercise for strengthening your lower back and increasing your overall flexibility. Reverse hypers can be done on any flat surface, like a kitchen counter or clothes dryer. To start, lay flat on your stomach with your waist positioned so your legs can hang straight down at a 90-degree angle to your upper body without contacting the structure you’re on. Your arms should be out in front of you holding onto the opposite edge of your supporting structure. With your stomach, glutes, hams, and lower back tightened and your legs straight, bring your legs up until they are as close to parallel to the floor as you can make them. Hold your legs there for just a second and then lower them to the starting position, which is one repetition. Then immediately do the next rep. Be sure to keep your legs together at all times. Do three sets of 10-15 reps per set. At first, do them with no weight on your ankles and, as you get stronger, add ankle weights.
The second exercise is wall squats, which appeared in the June 2009 issue. To do this one, put a towel over your back like Superman’s cape and then place your back flat against a wall. Your feet should be about two shoe lengths from the wall and your knees should in line with your heels. Then squat down until your thighs are at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Once there, while keeping your back against the wall, return to the starting position. Do three or four sets of 15-20 repetitions.
Pull-throughs with dumbbells, which also appeared in the June 2009 issue, will work your hamstrings and glutes. The starting position has you standing with both arms extended down and holding a dumbbell in front of your body. Your legs should be a little wider apart than your shoulders. Maintaining this stance, swing the dumbbell back between your legs, then bring the dumbbell to an upright position in front of your chest. Then return to the starting position. Do this for three or four sets of 10-12 repetitions.
These exercises should be done in this order and while maintaining proper form, so use less weight if you’re having trouble getting your legs up high. Also use a lighter weight when doing the first warm-up set, which does not count as a power set. As always, use enough weight so the last two reps are hard to finish.
Do you have a recurring muscle cramp or ache? Send info about the problem to Fit To Ride, c/o American Iron Magazine, 1010 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06905, or e-mail it to ChrisM@AmericanIronMag.com. Unfortunately, we can’t respond directly to the submitter. Select questions will be answered only through this monthly column. Also, before trying any of the advice given here, be sure to check with your personal physician. AIM
Fit To Ride, by Phil Halliwell
Editor’s note: Phil Halliwell is an ISSA-certified personal trainer and has been a nationally ranked powerlifter since 1989, holding AWPC Master World Powerlifting champion and record holder titles, all as a drug-free athlete. He’s also the guy who got me back into shape after a few mishaps that required surgery. If you want to know more about Phil, visit him on Facebook.