Back to the weekly entry on fitness and all that jazz. In the first one I covered diet and last week I spoke in depth about bikes and where my passion comes from, today I will go into what else I do for fitness and my goals.
Until my crash in which I dislocated my shoulder I just cycled, no other exercise. I enjoy being outside, I hate gyms and I am rubbish at team sports, I was happy riding my bikes up and down mountains, to work, at the skatepark, it was all about the bikes. Whilst forced off the bike for 6 weeks I had some exercises from the doctor to ensure I healed properly and to minimise the damage, once I was back on the bike I continued the exercises but still felt like my upper body strength was not where I wanted it, and I got frequent pain in the affected shoulder. I bought some home gym equipment and now work on my core and upper body a few times a week, fitting a workout in most evenings I am home which is usually only two or three nights tops. As I said I am not a fan of gyms so this works best for me, it also means I can fit it in whenever suits me and it can be a quick blast whilst dinner cooks or a longer session depending on how I feel and how big the ironing pile is.
I am a believer in using what you have so I do a lot of body weight exercises such as push ups, sit ups, pull ups and planks, well, I say I do a lot, I attempt them a lot, but am still working on achieving many! I use small dumbells to help build the strength in my arms and shoulders, lots of light reps (5kg) as I don’t need to build massive arms, just keep my shoulders and arms strong enough to fend off crashes better.
At work and for some of my weights exercises at home I sit on a gym ball, this has drastically improved my balance and posture in just a few weeks, and it is something I will continue to do. After a day on the gym ball I stand and sit taller, walk straighter, my shoulder blades sit in the right place and I don’t slouch. I also suffer less from back pain, which I often get as a result of compressed lower vertebrae caused in an accident 18 years ago.
On top of these exercises and as a warm down after most sessions I have started to incorporate a yoga routine into my evenings, it is a routine I found on the pinkbike website and it is specially designed for bikers and targeting lower back pain specifically. What I have learned from this is my balance is truly awful and I am not as flexible as I would like, but am working on it and improving with each session, hopefully by the summer the improvements will show on the bike too.
I am still working on cultivating abs by my birthday, crunches and weighted sits ups are my best friend and worst enemy right now, there is no reason to do this apart from mild vanity and stubbornness, but I will persevere!
I plan on continuing this regime for a while and hopefully building up some upper body strength through this and maybe working on some calisthenics workouts, or maybe I will just admire videos of the people who can do that stuff and never manage it myself! Bmx Wednesday is being brought out of the park and I will start mixing it with alternate weeks at the bmx race track to work on sprints, manuals and jumping whilst enjoying the few warm nights we might get in Glasgow. I need to start cycling to work again, I have been lazy recently and keep walking instead, and I need to get some evening mtb rides in, the nights are lighter so no more excuses. Let us ride!
Until next week, bikes, bikes bikes!!