Category Archives: Training

Movement is Medicine

Over the last few years I have had more than my fair share of cycling accidents: a broken femur in 2010, a compressed L1 in 2011, and over the last few years repeated shoulder dislocation (no biggie it just pops back in right?). The femur, and eventually the shoulder, needed surgery and in both cases I was blessed with speedy treatment by superb surgeons. The morning after the femur was operated on I was able to hobble to the bathroom to take a pee. Amazing!

In addition to the great surgeons I have also been supported by my athletic therapist, Kevin Jardine at the Urban Athlete, who has put in many hours keeping my body working. With Kevin’s help I am working consistently to try and maintain the ability of my body to perform athletically. One of Kevin’s mantras is that movement is medicine – without movement there is no recovery.

Kevin talks about how when you injure yourself you not only injure your body but also affect your brain. You injure your body and also impact your brain’s ability to communicate with that part of the body: the part of the brain affected actually diminishes and starts to lose the ability to communicate with the injured area. When I came out of surgery for my shoulder I definitely did not want to move it, and still felt that way several weeks later. Kevin explained that rehabilitating the shoulder wasn’t about doing weights, it was about activating the small muscles which in turn helps re-establish the pathways of communication to the brain.

Now, I am not saying that the day after you have surgery or injure yourself that you should go out and try to start moving. Doing little in the way of movement can also have a place in the recovery process, as it did with my shoulder. But at some point it will be necessary to start re-establishing your neuromuscular pathways and that is where movement is indispensable.

When you injure yourself most likely you will go see a therapist, and they will help you with some work on your body to help alleviate some of the tension in your muscles. This is important stuff. But just as important, or even more so, are the exercises that they will give you to help with your rehabilitation. This is where you start to be in control of your health. Doing the exercises diligently, progressing through a variety of phases and taking the time to heal yourself is the key to well-being. You want to perform well again in the future and this is the time to control your fate.

Ultimately, through a variety of choices, our health is largely in our own hands. Kevin truly believes that with movement we can overcome recurring pain and improve our quality of life. It is also the means to maintaining our health and improving our athletic performance.

Here is a the video that inspired this blog.

And if you want to check out some of the projects that Kevin has been working on in regards to movement and health check out CrossBell and FeelingPrettyRemarkable.

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Three Tips to Improve Your Climbing

Tour de Beauce Being able to climb well is an important part of enjoying your riding. It isn’t all about strength though, follow these tips to make your climbing better.

Focus on your pacing, shifting and technique when standing up.

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Ride better with a proper fitting

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook how important a proper bike fit is. In this video, Andrew Randell talks about the importance of getting set up correctly on your bike. He shows you what to look for and how to assess whether your fit needs to be adjusted.

Andrew has spent thousands of hours in the saddle as a professional, so he knows what can happen if your saddle is too high or your stem too long. These features have a direct impact on your performance and can also cause injuries. Andrew’s advice is to spend the time to get someone who’s knowledgeable to look at your bike fit. It’ll be time well spent because it’ll lay the foundation for improving your performance.

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Use goals to ride at your best

Many cyclists flounder because they fail to set clear goals. Without goals, there’s little direction and focus to the time spent on your bike. As a result, your motivation may dip when don’t see the progress you were hoping for.

When Andrew Randell, a former pro racer, works with athletes, one of the first things he gets them to do is set out clear goals. This step helps him to come up with a plan to help them get there.

One of the teams Randell coaches is Evatik, whose members had training programs that weren’t working for them.

“In the past, they experienced burnout and severe fatigue,” explains Randell. “This season, we managed the training in such a way that they were able to maximize their season.” (more…)

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