I've finally just stepped away from the laptop and went for a ride. Whew- maybe there's hope for me after all (see previous blog.)
There are often times while riding a bike when you can actually do some rehab or core strengthening. Here's such an instance:
While descending a long hill whether they are switch backs or a long straight hill, you can work on some scapular (shoulder blade) stabilization and core strengthening techniques and all the while developing strong and sexy triceps. First drop your shoulder blades back so they are trying to touch each other. Think of squeezing them towards the spine. This will actually lurch your torso forward towards your handle bars. Next, bend your elbows so they are almost at a 90 degree bend. Now your torso is looking more like it's parallel to the ground. Drop your butt back on the saddle so most of your weight is not on your handle bars. Next, (and this is the tricky part to explain) bring your belly button in to your spine WITHOUT arching or flexing your back. Your spine should not move at all, you are just drawing your belly button back and breathing normally through your lower ribs. The trick: Do you know where your zyphoid process is? It's the pointy bone at the bottom of your sternum. Now your ribs start to angle downwards towards your pelvis (like an upside down "V"). You'll notice at the end of the "V" the ribs start to angle outwards to go around your back. At that junction, the bottom of the "V", you will want to try to bring the two bottom legs of the "V" closer to each other by contracting your oblique muscles. Of course, they won't travel any closer to each other, but you will be contracting the obliques just by attempting to do that. Again, there shouldn't be ANY movement of the spine or torso. It's an isometric contraction where no joints move. You are basically just holding a contraction of the abdominal oblique muscles.
By contracting the ab muscles in this manner, you are creating a very stable and rigid cylinder of the core and you may find that not only will you strengthen your core, but it will help prevent injuries and help you descend safer! By working on bringing your shoulder blades together, you will help prevent arm, neck, and shoulder pain or injury (mostly due to an outstretched arm and too much weight on the handlebars) and build more muscles in the arm to get that SEXY CYCLIST'S TRICEP!
Enjoy and let me know how it goes or if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org