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Core Strength Training
Strength is one of the key components of fitness for cycling, particularly important for an event like the Rapha Bordeaux–Paris. The stronger a muscle or group of muscles is, the more time it will take to fatigue, the less prone it is to injury and the more ‘force’ it applies with every push on the pedals. It might not seem like a direct requirement for spending hours on a bike, but your core strength is going to be a big factor in you completing the event.
Researchers studying the Ride Across America (RAM) ultra endurance bike race discovered that a very high percentage of the drop-out rate was down to muscular problems or niggling overuse injuries rather than fatigue. Almost universally, competitors in the event say that with hindsight they would spend slightly less time on the bike and more time in the gym when preparing for the event. This is a fascinating insight and many riders reveal how much more frustrating it is to not be able to complete the event for something as ‘trivial’ as a seized neck which doesn’t allow them to look ahead down the road.
Imagine you’ve done several months of training only to be forced out of the event by a muscular problem or lower back pain that could easily have been alleviated with some simple strength exercises included in your programme. The downloadable pdf shows a good range of basic strength exercises which can be done at home with a minimum of equipment such as an exercise ball and hand held dumbbells. Better still would be to visit your local gym and explain the Bordeaux–Paris to a specialist strength and conditioning coach and get them to assess you and set a suitable programme.
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