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Pilates & Le Tour De France

Pilates & Le Tour De France

July 16th, 2009  |  Published in Pilates

An article for cyclists, and why you need to add Pilates into your training regimen!


Pilates, the Tour, and a Cyclists’ Training

Saturday July 7, 2007
By Marguerite Ogle
Tour de FranceThe Tour de France begins this weekend. I love to keep an eye on the Tour as it wheels around France – oops, I mean England (huh? it’s true). So I started thinking about Pilates and cycling, and how Pilates might support a cyclists training.
As with most sports, in bicycling there are common pitfalls like repetitive stress on certain muscle groups and the accompanying uneven development of the musculature. To help counter that, Pilates offers a very strong emphasis on balanced overall strength and flexibility. I would direct a cyclist to Pilates equipment workouts, like the reformer or magic circle, as I think they would provide the resistance needed to help develop underused muscles. In fact, there are some fairly devious exercises designed to get at muscles we often don’t even know we have.
Of course Pilates is known for its emphasis on core strength and abdominal work. The hallmark of the core training that we do is that it develops strength in the deep intrinsic muscles of the abdomen and spine, taking pressure off the superficial muscles and promoting more balanced and efficient use. This kind of inner strength training, along with Pilates focus on alignment and torso stability, will support a cyclist through long rides, and longer rides like the Tour de France.
Lastly, wow, have you seen those cyclists when they get tired? The chest drops so that the neck has bend unnaturally to hold the head up, and all the weight falls into the front the arms, the deltoid, biceps and forearms. Now maybe that doesn’t happen to Lance Armstrong, or the riders of the Tour de France, but I live in a cycling intensive community and I see this frightening posture a lot out on our roads. What these riders need (in my Pilates loving opinion) are some Pilates mat exercises that open the chest and work the back extensors, giving the back and neck some relief. I also heartily recommend the Pilates exercises that engage the triceps and help make the connection between the triceps and lats. OK, for those of you for whom that was a bit technical, what I said was, try these exercises:
For more on cycling and The Tour, check into bicycling at About.com.
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