Get Bike Fit in 2017 with this simple yet effective training plan
So far, our adventure bike fitness circuit consists of two muscle groups, legs and chest, which we detailed in the last two issues of ABR. In this issue, we start to bring in the muscles of the back in order to provide muscle balance to the torso. The main issue with the back is that you need to use ‘pulling’ exercises, and this will involve buying a form of resistance band. Luckily, these are cheap and readily available from eBay, Amazon or a local sports shop.
There are two types: The Dyna-Band is just a thick elastic band, whilst the resistance band has handles either end, both come in different tensions. When travelling, I use a Dyna-Band with two handles as this is the lightest, most versatile option. The length should enable you to perform various exercises, so roughly 1.5 metres handle to handle is about right.
The reason for training the back is to create good posture on the bike. You want to avoid any muscle imbalance, so sitting with a good spine position can be trained here, as long as you have a good seating position on your bike.
The first exercise is a seated row: sit on the floor with your legs almost straight in front of you, wrap the band around your feet to allow a resistance that will tire your back muscles in around 15 repetitions. This exercise works the latissimus dorsi, the rhomboids and the biceps. Keep the arms close to the body on each rep and make sure to extend the arms fully with only the shoulders, elbows and wrists moving during the exercise.
The spine should not move and you should be locked into an upright position. Another method of doing this exercise is in the standing position and wrapping the mid-point of the resistance band around a door handle and rowing in a standing position. Make sure you continue to ‘lock’ your body so only your arms are moving.
The next exercise works predominately the rhomboids and can promote an upright posture for that riding position that will cause less harm to the spine on longer journeys. It is called the reverse fly. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and stand on the middle of the band creating a cross by holding the ends in opposite hands.
Bend over with your knees slightly bent whilst keeping your back straight and a slight arch in your lower back, start with your arms lowered by your sides then raise them to shoulder height. Only your shoulders should be moving as you are fixed in this position throughout the exercise. You are ‘flying’ with your arms.
Each of these back exercises should be incorporated into your growing circuit and should be done in three sets with 15 reps in each set. Remember that you should have 30 seconds’ rest between sets and you can alternate exercises. For example, one set of press-ups, one set of squats, one set of seated rows, one set of reverse flys and repeat this three times. In the next issue, we will be looking at some core exercises that will help with lower torso muscle balance and posture.