Cycling can put a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders, especially if you spend a lot of time down in the drops or in an aero position. We'll sort that out with a series of exercises that will release tension in this area and have you feeling relaxed and ready to Suffer again.
You've just finished a brutal Sufferfest session. You probably just want to curl up in a ball, but to make sure your body stays limber and flexible this sequence will stretch you out and open you up. You'll be ready to Suffer again in no time.
The power to crush non-Sufferlandrians comes not just from your legs, but from your core. When your core is strong and stable, you can generate more power, more efficiently. You'll also suffer less back pain. With those goals in mind, this sequence strengthens the abs, obliques and lower back.
Spending long hours grinding out power on the bike can be tough on the hips. They have to work hard in a limited range of motion, meaning they tightnen up significantly. When that happens, your performance can suffer as muscular engagement drops off. This series will loosen your hips, correct imbalances and bring your hips back into the game when you're on the bike.
Cyclists often get a tight chest and upper body due to long hours on the bike. This session focuses on backbends that stretch the chest, open up the fronts of the shoulders and strengthen the upper and mid-back. Throughout the routine, be conscious of externally rotating your arms and squeezing your shoulder blades together. It is fairly demanding for your spine so make sure you are fully warmed up before practicing the sequence. Take special care not to rush the transition from Camel to Rabbit as these are intense back and forward bends.
This gentle sequence is designed to loosen up tight muscles and encourage good postural habits. You can practice it in the morning to relieve stiffness or in the evening to wind down before bed. We finish with a short body scan meditation to calm your mind and release tension throughout the body. Modification: If you’re unable to sit back on your heels in Child’s Pose, you can put a couple of cushions or a pillow between your calves and the backs of your thighs.
This routine is designed to relieve pain and release tension in the lower back. These poses open up the hips, stretch the hamstrings and strengthen the core. We finish with a diaphragmatic breathing exercise to relax the body and let go of tension around areas of pain.
Day 9: Taking the Soreness out of Suffering-Wed, 28 Feb
Taking the Soreness out of Suffering
If you're pushing yourself like a true Sufferlandrian, it's likely you're getting stiff and sore all over. Sidebends are one of my favourite ways to deal with general soreness. They're also perfect for cyclists who typically suffer from poor lateral flexibility.
This routine is designed to open up the hips—the hip flexors, rotators and glutes—and stretch the hamstrings. You move through a series of lunges and finish with Lizard and Pigeon pose. You can practice it in the morning, before or after a ride. Experiment to see what works best for you. Modification: If you can’t reach the mat in Low Lunge with Sidebend, you can rest your bottom hand on a block.
Maintaining effective cycling form when your under pressure requires substantial balance, coordination, agility and core strength. This series will develop those capabilities so you can better Suffer in Style.
Sufferfest sessions tear your body down. It's in the periods between Sufferfest sessions, when you're recovering, that you become more powerful. This session helps boost your recovery time, relaxing you and ensuring you give your body the chance to grow stronger.
Perhaps the only people more Badass than Sufferlandrians are Navy Seals. And this is the breathing exercise that Navy Seals do to calm down and focus themselves before major operations. Learn and use this technique before heading into your own major events and races.
Visits to Sufferlandria put the body under severe pressure. After your legs, one of the first areas to Suffer is your back. And back pain can severely affect your performance. This sequence will not only help alleviate any exisiting back pain, but also strengthen your back for improved performance in the future.
Get out of the 'cyclist's hunch' with this series which loosens up the entire body and takes you out of your habitual movement patterns. You'll flow through a series of standing yoga poses to simultaneously challenge your strength, flexibility and range of motion and leaving you feeling amazing. Modification: If you find Triangle pose difficult, you can rest your hand on a block for support.
Day 18: Hamstring and Calf Flexibility-Fri, 09 Mar
Hamstring and Calf Flexibility
Cyclists are notorious for poor hamstring and calf flexibility. But these muscles can only be properly engaged when they're flexible. This series will increase your range of motion, boosting performance and helping avoid injury when you're really dishing out the Suffering.
A Sufferlandrian always looks good on the bike. But off it, like most cyclists, Sufferlandrians can suffer from the rounded shoulders that come with spending so much time on bike. This series will release tension in your upper back and get you standing up straight and powerful once again.
Those spindly things that you use to type and lift up your coffee cup? Yeah, those could be a bit stronger. So it's time to build strength in the upper body—in the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, chest and core. It is based around Sun Salutation, a yoga sequence that builds strength, increases power and improves endurance.
Day 22: Yoga in Couchlandria: In the Office-Tue, 13 Mar
Yoga in Couchlandria: In the Office
If you're spending a lot of time sitting down in an office, stiffness, tension and soreness can creep into your body. That can affect your performance on the bike. This routine will counteract the damage done at the desk and ensure your body is ready to Suffer properly once you get on the bike.
Don't go out cold! Warm up your entire body before a ride or when you wake up in the morning. This is a fairly fast-paced sequence that raises your core temperature, circulates blood to your muscles and mobilises joints. Some moves are difficult, so only do what you're comfortable with.
When cycling, the spine - and thus your posture - can suffer by spending so much time in a hunched over position. This twisting routine will straighten you out by increasing flexiblity and stretching out muscles. You'll notice the results in your posture and your comfort on the bike.
This challenging balancing routine is designed to enhance your focus, develop self-awareness and improve your coordination. You can practice it in the morning or before a ride to get you in the zone. Try to maintain complete concentration throughout the sequence. Modifications: If you struggle with your balance in Balancing Half Moon and Warrior 3, try supporting yourself on a block(s).
This sequence is designed to improve range of motion throughout the body, focussing especially on the hips, spine, shoulders and hips. It combines twists, sidebends, strength and balance poses to enhance total body flexibility and agility.
This a short guided meditation that focuses on your breath and the sensations in your body. Clearing your mind through meditation can help you increase focus - quite a handy skill when you're riding on the limit.
Day 29: Yoga in Couchlandria: On the Road-Tue, 20 Mar
Yoga in Couchlandria: On the Road
If you're travelling, and will be off your bike for some time, you might feel that all is lost. But we've created a routine for travelling Sufferlandrians to keep you balanced, loose and strong. Do this daily while on the road so you'll be in top condition when you can get back to Sufferlandria.