Cycling is a great sport to participate in regardless of whether your goal is to lose weight, improve stamina, or seek adventure. Whether you’re new to cycling or have been in it for decades, one thing you’ll get to grips with pretty quickly is getting a flat tire. This is a common occurrence on both road bike and mountain bike.
You will often see used inner tubes on the side of the road as they usually mark where someone crushed and changed your old inner tube. This is unfortunate for many reasons. As cyclists we all hate to see this kind of behavior as it clutters our minds while driving by thinking about how lazy someone can be. After all, being lazy in the sport of cycling is not worth it. Among all the reasons for not throwing the camera you used on the side of the road, I hope to present you one more reason to tuck that old camera into your back jersey pocket and put it away because it will become more valuable as you read this article. .
Cycling helps build many muscles in the lower body. However, there are many muscles that are neglected due to the repetitive motion of cycling, as well as the fact that, for the most part, your body weight is supported by the seat. This doesn’t do much in terms of building functional strength or fitness. Sure, your cardiovascular system is great and your quads and calves are in perfect condition and they look great, but what about those muscles that are used to support your body when moving laterally? Even if you are a triathlete, you will do little or no lateral movement during training. This poses a significant problem in terms of maintaining the supporting muscles of the back, stomach, and glutes.
Now let’s go back to the old inner tube. When you get home from your trip, take the inner tube and a pair of scissors cut the valve stem. Then simply roll the inner tube on itself to create two loops. Enter the loops with 2 feet and position the inner tube so that it is slightly above the knee and almost mid-thigh. From here, you will perform what is called a side step. Anchor one foot and step sideways to one side with the other. As you take a step to the side, you will feel the resistance of your inner tube. At the end of the step, plant the foot you just stepped on and lift the previously planted foot. Continue in one direction until you complete 10-15 steps, depending on your inner tube type. The inner tubes of mountain bikes are going to provide great resistance. If you have lightweight racing inner tubes, these are a good place to start to get an idea of movement and resistance level. As you go you can try regular 700c tubes and ultimately mountain bike tubes. I like to put the lightest tubes around my ankles and the heaviest mountain bike tubes around my thighs when doing the side step.
Complete this exercise as part of your warm-up to activate your lower body muscles immediately after rolling and stretching the foam. Not only does this provide a great warm-up, but it will gradually increase the force in the muscles that are used to stabilize the torso while on the bike. I have also found that this exercise really works the glute and knee stabilizers. It is important to incorporate this into your warm-up routine, and over time, you will begin to notice that your entire body feels more stable while on and off the bike.