Thursday, 11 December 2014

The spin class enthusiasts mobility drills

I used to say "if you want tight hamstrings and a headache, go to a spin class!" But I've come to learn there is no such thing as a bad spin class, just bad spin class attendees. If you're a regular spinner, and currently suffering with a niggle in the hamstring, calves so tight you could use them as guitar strings or achey hips, this probably isn't news to you, but the short 5 minute cool down of a few static stretches at the end of a class just isn't enough. You need to be able to perform some basic maintenance on your body regularly to keep your muscles and joints working in an optimal range. Otherwise problems get worse and worse and BAM! you've got an injury on your hands. 

Here's 4 drills you can perform anywhere/anytime to help recovery and restoration from a spin class. 

Calves foam roller smash
We'll start from the bottom up. Many inexperienced cyclists try and create power when they ride from the ankle joint, not the big strong muscles such as the quads, calves and glutes. This shreds your calves meaning they get very tight and your left missing ankle range. Counteract this by A: learning to cycle properly and B: performing this drill. Cross one leg over the other and place the roller on your Achilles and very slowly work your way up and down the calf. Pause on any tender spots for 20-30 sec and spend at least 2 minutes per side exploring around the calf.   

Hamstring ball smash 
Hamstrings take a pounding from cycling. Tight hamstrings are bad news and can lead to a
bunch of other bad things like lower back pain. Take a hard ball of some kind (massage ball, cricket ball, golf ball, tennis ball) and take a seat. Place the ball under your hamstring and explore around. You'll be unpleasantly surprised with what you might find here, as the hamstring muscle fibres tend to get all junked up. Once again two minutes of exploring per side.

Couch stretch
Spinning requires a lot of sitting. And sitting wrecks your hip action. You'll get really tight in the anterior hip/hip flexor area. This stretch will work wonders at opening your hips back out. 2 minutes per side.

T-spine smash 
Next time you're in a spin class and you go for one of those big sprints, you'll see everyone ducks down to make themselves more aerodynamic. Look at everyone's spine! It's in a big C shape. Now imagine keeping the spine in this position and standing up. Over time this is the effect it's going to have, so open that thoracic spine back up with this drill. Place a roller on your thoracic spine area and reach all the way over your head. Hang out like this for, yep you guessed it - 2 mins.