I want to ride everyday but my hips hurt and my legs are really tight. Now what?
It’s great when you find the workout that makes you excited, happy and, best of all, healthier. BUT can you have too much of a good thing? Absolutely.
I would love to tell everyone you can ride every day but you just shouldn’t. Think about the movement on the bike, what planes are you moving your body? Which muscles are completely ignored? The chest, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings all tend to get tight while our back muscles, hip abductors and adductors all get mostly ignored and weak.
Overuse injuries are fairly common when people take up a new hobby like riding a bike. That said, you can avoid these injuries! Cross training and proper recovery can really help.
As a Certified Personal Trainer, I should tell you that you should be doing a total body strength workout several times a week but I know that’s not realistic for everyone.
On the most basic level, you want to think about strengthening the back of your body while stretching the front of your body. Now, that’s incredibly generalized but it’s a good place to start. Focus on exercises that counter what you do on the bike – stretch the hip flexors, do some back extensions, strengthen the core, stretch the chest, strengthen the hip abductors and adductors, etc.
One of the great things about our bikes is the power meter. If you are wondering if you’re overtraining, look at your power numbers. If your numbers are consistently going down or you simply can’t hit your normal numbers, then you might be overtraining. A day or two off from cycling to do strength instead is a great way to counter that.
The other beauty of the indoor bike is no one else can see what you’re doing. If you really want to come 5 days in a row, try doing a recovery ride for at least one of those. You can follow along with our RPM but try focusing on keeping your power below your normal range. You can recover and still have fun, I promise!
One thing that works for me when I need to focus on recovery is a massage. I turned to my friend and Licensed Massage Therapist, Meg Donnelly for advice. Here’s Meg’s advice: Massage is great for recovery and that nagging feeling of tightness or discomfort. Each client’s goals and needs are unique. But typically, a therapeutic massage session that includes thermal heat therapy and assisted stretching works well. If you are not a fan of traditional massage, a 60 minute session with clothed assisted stretches is a great way to positively affect the soft tissues of the body. Keep in mind though, we don’t ever want to take assisted stretching or any massage techniques to a point where it’s painful. I usually refer to this as edge-work. We want to explore that space just before it hurts...where it feels good or great or strong. As you work in that space and nudge it a bit, your stretch tolerance may improve over time...and you may find that nagging tightness or discomfort diminishes too.
Check out Meg’s website www.massagetherapybymeg.com for more tips on this subject and more.
If you’re looking for a more personalized workout, one of our trainers can put together a workout for you. You could also try the Express Core & Stretch on Sundays at 1045am to get some ideas on how you can balance your body after a ride.
Lastly, anytime you have pain from riding, make sure someone looks at your bike setup. A small change in your seat height (among other things) can make a big difference.