I remember when I was in grade school and we used to toss the medicine ball to each other in gym class. I never thought they were good for anything except knocking your friend down when he wasn’t looking! Fast forward 35 years…
In my third, and final, installment of “Hard to the Core” I wanted to explore yet another ball that can help you strengthen your core and make you better on the bike. The medicine ball, as pictured above, comes in different weights and sizes, and is a great tool for training.
I have hired a 250 lb. Swedish masseuse. Not really, but I do have something that I believe is just as effective, and much cheaper, a foam roller.
Unless you are a yogi or are stretching on a very regular basis aging brings about the reality of restricted muscle movement as well as loss of flexibility or range of motion. The regular use of a foam roller has been shown to relieve various muscle pain and tightness. I am actually currently using it for my IT Band tightness and can tell you first hand that I do notice a difference. I will also tell you that the first few times that you use the foam roller it WILL be painful.
Here are some general guidelines taken from a great article on all of the technical and physiological details of why and how to use a foam roller:
The acronym BOSU stands for Both Sides Up meaning that this piece of exercise equipment was designed to be used with either side up. Sounds pretty simple, but exactly what do you do with it once you decide on which side goes up?
The kettlebell, pictured here, looks like a cannon ball with a handle. They come in various sizes ranging from 5 to 75 pounds with costs from about $10 – $100. If you have never tried training with one you will be surprised what you have been missing.
In yesterday’s Tip of the Day I mentioned that in order to really lose weight dieting alone it not enough. Exercise, and especially weight lifting, will help to accelerate your weight loss and make sure you keep off those unwanted pounds.
Today I got outside for a ride for the second time over the last month. I’m sure many of you are probably thinking “big deal, I ride every day”! Well, remember I live in Wisconsin and it is only 32 degrees here today. Sunny and calm, but only 32 nonetheless.
The above picture is actually one of the roads I was riding on today. Notice only the littlest bit of snow…at least for now.
Anyway, while I was riding it got me thinking about the upcoming season and how cycling has benefitted me and what a joy it is to be a cyclist and a dad.
Over the next week I will be publishing a series of posts directly related to my tagline of love, live, and ride:
- LIVE to love and ride – This post will focus on safety on the bike and will be geared towards cyclists and motorists. Please look for it and pass it on to all of your cycling friends and more importantly anyone you know who drives a car.
- LOVE, ride, and live – This post will speak to the family aspects of my life and riding.
- RIDE to love and live – This post will revolve around the health aspects of riding.
- Ride and Shower – My wife recommended this one today when I got back from my ride. I showered but I don’t think I’ll write about it.
Love, live, and ride.
A few weeks ago I had a post about a few yoga moves that are beneficial for cyclists. If you remember, the main purpose of yoga is strength, stretching as well as returning “balance” to your body.
Today I ran across an article and a 30-day yoga calendar in Men’s Health Magazine and thought I would share.
There is also a section that is specific to yoga for cyclists.
Love, live, and ride.
As a Cyclist Dad I continue to look for ways to maximize the limited time I have for exercise and cycling so I can devote more time to my family.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a method of training that allows me to do just that; get the maximum workout in minimal time.
HIIT is defined as a number of short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery breaks in between. The actual length of these bursts, or intervals, can vary from relatively short (15 to 90 seconds) to long (3 to 5 minutes) in length. In order to get the most out of interval training it is important to get adequate recovery time between the intervals. For example:
A few years ago I took a beginner’s yoga class to help me with my cycling. I had always heard it was good for cyclists but did not understand exactly why, but it became very evident soon after I began the class.
Yoga, as it turns out, is great for strength, stretching as well as returning “balance” to your body. In yoga, all exercises are done symmetrically, meaning whatever is done to the left side is done to the right. In cycling we tend to use the same muscles over and over while others are underused, thus causing this imbalance. Yoga can help to strengthen and stretch muscles that are tight from repeated use. In my particular case there is a noticeable difference between my left and right hip flexibility which is what I am working on. I believe this issue is responsible for my lower back pain on my right side during higher-tempo rides.
In numerous posts, The Medicine Man, How Do You BOSU?, and Having a Ball I have discussed the importance of core strength for cycling but what if you are away from home and still want to work the core? I have an answer for that, and it does not involve taking another suitcase of stuff with you.
As of today I have been wearing the Fitbit for one week so I wanted to give you my first impressions.
I have worn the device non-stop over the last week both while awake and while sleeping. It fits tightly on my jean pocket or on my belt using the included belt clip. At night it fits into the included wrist band securely and comfortably. In all cases you barely know you’re wearing it.
If you have been following me, or know anything about me, you know that I am a technology and gadget junkie. Staying true to my love for cool stuff and my desire to lead, or at least not follow, the pack I decided to run out and get a Fitbit. Actually, I ordered it online and it arrived on Saturday afternoon.
A Fitbit? What exactly is that you ask? Well, a Fitbit would be classified as a personal fitness tracker. According to the manufacturer, Fitbit, it is capable of tracking a ton of information:
During the second installment of “Hard to the Core” I am going to cover another great piece of exercise equipment used for core and stability training. The Swiss ball, pictured at the left, goes by other names including balance ball, body ball, fitness ball, stability ball, as well as others.
A few general benefits of using a Swiss ball are:
Does your lower back begin to hurt, like mine does, before you are done with your ride? If it does, chances are your core is to blame.
Over the next few days I will be writing a series of short articles on core-related exercise equipment as well as core exercises.
Time for me to put the nagging back pain behind me! No joke intended…
FInd all three articles here: Bosu, Swiss Ball, and Medicine Ball.
Love, ride, and live.
So today I did something I haven’t done in 35 years.
I will attempt to paint the picture but keep in mind I am no Picasso. Imagine it’s a sunny 24 degrees with a light wind out of the southeast at about 10 mph. The hill is empty and it is calling our names. We are about to pilot our sleds for the first time this year. (See actual on-board footage here)