Cyclists may soon improve performance and avoid injury when they see exactly how proper technique and training impacts their muscles. In the upcoming Cycling Anatomy, (Human Kinetics, May 2009) physician and former competitive cyclist Shannon Sovndal, MD, uses full-color anatomical illustrations to show how specific exercises link to cycling performance.
Sovndal organizes illustrations and advice according to muscle groups—and includes the entire body, not just the legs. “To reach peak performance, all systems must operate as a single coordinated unit,” he says. “Your legs, hips, and buttocks do generate the majority of your cycling power, but to stabilize the lower half of your body, you need to have a strong abdomen, back, and upper body.” A lack of training in any one particular area of the body can put the whole system out of alignment, resulting in decreased performance and possible injury.
In addition to anatomical images and descriptions, Sovndal also includes training tips. For example, he suggests that cyclists mimic their cycling position when performing weight training exercises. He says of calf raises, “Position your feet the same way your cycling shoes interact with the pedals. This will help focus the gains you achieve so that they can be directly applied when you are on the bike.”
He also suggests using visualization while lifting in the gym and includes a “cycling focus” section for each exercise in the book that shows how the action relates to a rider’s position on the bike.
“You can enhance your workout by thinking about the ways the exercise relates to riding,” Sovndal suggests. “For example, when performing a squat, think of sprinting on your bicyle. If you can feel or visualize applicable cycling positions and situations, your training will only be enhanced.”