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Form & Fitness Q & A
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Fitness questions and answers for March 29, 2005
The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping
athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie
specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track
racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology
from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology
from John F. Kennedy University.
Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com)
is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16
years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities
from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl,
daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.
Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of
Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before
obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000.
Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows,
he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins,
CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural,
urgent care, inpatient and the like.
Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com)
is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting
(Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy
for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports
Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in
the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10
years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.
Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com)
is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds
undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy
from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track,
road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with
and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included
World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes.
He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's
degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual
medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization
musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.
Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider
positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders
from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable
cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of
the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the
Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick
Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica
Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.
Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular
Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University
and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University
of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency
on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated
changes in menstrual function on bone health.
Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling
competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion.
Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.
Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a
former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in
exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.
Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and
has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years
of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.
Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching
experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.
Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com)
is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association
of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been
professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels
from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching
with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive
cyclist for 20 years
Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com)
is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training.
He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and
a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).
In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports
Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered
training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past
4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.
Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com)
has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified
USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion,
and a Fitness Professional.
Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United
States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns
a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around
the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find
Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual
athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews,
you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before
beginning any exercise program.
Cycling and lower back pain
Help with knee pain
More Upper Calf Pain...
Saddle sores treatment #2
Cycling and lower back pain
I am 48 years old, 5'8" and weigh about 150 lb. Due to Achilles tendonitis
from running I have been a recreational road/mountain biker for the last eight
years. I have had lower back pain and stiffness for about the last eight months.
I partly attribute this to bad posture, but I've also noticed that especially
when seated climbing on my mountain bike I tend to want to eliminate the natural
arch in my lower back (flatten my lower back) by tightening my abdominal muscles.
It just seems too hard to not do this. This sometimes results in lower back
pain after long climbs. I've read that cyclists have strong back muscles and
weak abdominal muscles, but this seems to be the opposite in my case. I've also
noticed that professional cyclists often have a "hunched" or flattened lower
back when seen in races. Could this tendency to flatten the lower back be leading
to back pain? Could I be positioned wrong on the bike?
Steve Hogg Replies
Without more information it is hard to advise properly. However, some observations;
fix your posture. In so doing you will make a positive difference to your
back pain on and off the bike. Next, by tightening your abs as you are you
are restricting your ability to breath. When the abs are switched on the diaphragm
cannot work properly. You sound like someone who has developed a pattern of
on bike stability that works to some degree but causes an unreasonable price
to be paid.
Find a good structural health professional, have yourself assessed and implement
a program of structural self improvement. If no one like this is available
to you, take up pilates.
Lastly, don't look at the pros for inspiration about position. Many look really
good, some look woeful. You could well be poorly positioned on the bike. There
is no way of knowing with the information you have supplied.
Help with knee pain
I am a 43-year-old female who spins three times a week, runs 20-30 miles a
week and takes body pump classes twice a week.
About six months ago, my gym got new spinning bikes - Lemond Rev Masters. Shortly
after that, I began to notice knee pain - not while spinning - but later in
the day, and upon awakening. Tried to ignore it, took some Aleeve, iced occasionally.
(I should back up and state that prior to the Lemond bikes, we had Reebok and
another type that I can't recall the name-if I ever had to spin on the Reebok
bike, I did notice knee pain with those also- but no problem ever with the type
I can't recall the name of).
Anyway, after running a marathon in December, I could not fully extend my right
knee. I saw an Ortho who put me in an immobilizer for two weeks, went to a physiotherapist
for VMO strengthening, etc and progressed with the "crunchiness" under the kneecap
to the point where it was audible and made me nauseous to try to extend the
knee in a sitting position. Now, I am awaiting the results of an MRI done last
Friday, and suspect I will hear the dreaded words "you need to stop running"
or "you need to stop doing squats" or "you need to stop whatever"!
Sorry for being so wordy, but I think I have determined on my own, by going
back in time to the point of the new bikes, that it is not the marathon running,
nor the squats/lunges,etc, but the bike. I feel like there is some setting that
is a little off-seat height, distance from the bar, angle of the clips,etc.
Have you heard of this? Have you heard of problems with this particular bike?
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks so much,
Steve Hogg Replies
I have zero knowledge of the type of spinning bike that you are using. Have
a look at the archives and you will see many posts regarding knee pain. See
if you think any are applicable to you and if need be, get back with more
More Upper Calf Pain...
The letter from Jim Breen answered many of my questions. I have a similar problem,
but the calf pain is different. Instead of my legs being different length it
is my pelvis and back. My right leg is a full inch shorter than my left, rather
my pelvis is tilted an inch. The measurement was taken via x-ray by my chiropractor,
the difference being between the heights of each femoral head. My pelvis is
way higher on the right than on the left. However I don't want to insert Lemond
wedges, I want to straighten my body. I am 5'11"+ inches tall, 190 pounds, not
too fat, just a big cyclist. I compete (and win) mostly in short time trials,
My pain happens during longer rides, 50+ miles. I feel pain in the upper calf
in my right leg (the shorter one); I think it is because the leg is trying to
reach the pedal. My left leg reaches the pedal fine but the right leg is tight
trying to reach it. My right leg is also significantly larger than the left,
especially in the calf. My right spinal erectors are also larger than my left,
which I think contributes to pulling my pelvis out of alignment. When I ride
my right sit bone takes most of the pressure and I, oddly enough, find a really
low position more comfortable than an upright one; sitting on my perineum; the
top of my handlebars being 6.5" below my seat. I also find a more forward position
more comfortable; if I push the seat back on the rails I get more back pain.
Where I feel the most pain is in my right sacroiliac joint. The pain is intense
and I have just dealt with it for years but I would like to fix it. Have you
dealt with any cyclists with the same problem, and if so how was it remedied?
I think the 'Stretching and Flexibility' book by Kit Laughlin may help, and
any other advice is very welcome.
Timothy I. Applegate
Steve Hogg Replies
I am a bit confused by your self description. You say that you don't have
a leg length difference but go on to talk about your right leg being shorter.
Are you talking measurably shorter or functionally shorter?
With regard to your pelvis, are you saying that the discrepancies are a result
of measurable differences in ilium size or the results of a laterally tilted
pelvis? Until you get back to me, the strong message I want to get across
to you and anyone else reading this, is that the better and more symmetrically
a rider functions off the bike, the better they will perform, the quicker
they will recover and the less likely they are to be injured on the bike.
This may seem like stating the obvious but while the great majority of people
accept this intellectually, not nearly as many apply it too themselves.
As a rough rule of thumb I find in my own business when advising along similar
lines that 100% listen but only 10-20% act. Be one of the 10-20%. The Kit
Laughlin book is excellent but given what you have said I would also suggest
a copy of "Overcome Neck and Back Pain" by the same author. If the stuff in
there is applied with close attention to the instructions there is little
risk of harm and great potential for benefit. It would also be of benefit
to take up yoga or similar regularly as properly done and with an insightful
instructor, enormous progress can be made. If this means that for a period
that your bike takes up less of your life, so be it. You are working towards
gaining the long term ability to perform on the bike and in all other physical
aspects of your life significantly better.
I am a 41 year old man trying to get back into racing after a 9 year hiatus.
I've heard it called many things, but the phrase "art form" is the most commonly
used term I've heard in reference to peaking. It is difficult to do even if
a rider is on a strict training schedule. I know you can't answer this question
as it relates directly to me because you don't know my training schedule, attributes
and weaknesses, but could you shed some light on how to peak for a specific
race, i.e. Masters Nationals. It is hit or miss, at best, and it can be frustrating.
Thanks in advance.
Eddie Monnier Replies
While there is an art to peaking, there's a good deal of science and experience
that sheds light into how to achieve a peak. Tudor Bompa, "the father" of
periodisation, defines a peak as "a temporary training state in which physical
and psychological efficiencies are maximized and the levels of technical and
tactical preparation are optimal." In short, peaking is the ultimate objective
of periodisation which is a structured training approach where volume (a function
of frequency and duration) and intensity are manipulated in a planned manner
working backwards from the intended peak.
A peak is affected by many factors. The best thing you can do is read up
on periodisation. Since I work closely with Joe Friel, I'm a big fan of his
Training Bible series of books (eg - The Cyclist's Training Bible) which explain
how to apply periodisation. Of course, Tudor Bompa's books on the subject
are excellent as well though some readers may find them too technical. There
are also online tools such as Cyclingpeaks (www.cyclingpeaks.com) which help
you implement a periodized program. While I think every endurance athlete
should be familiar with the basic tenets of periodisation, you may prefer
to get a coach to devise and monitor a training program for you. Best of luck
Hi - I'm trying to find out if muscle loss has to do anything with fat loss
- to be specific - I'm trying to settle an argument with my best friend. I believe
that I can't lose muscle until the body got rid of all the fat, and my friend
says you can't lose fat without muscle. We would appreciate it if you guys could
clear this subject for us. Thanks.
Loit and Joey
Scott Saifer Replies
One can lose muscle without losing fat. This will happen if you restrict
calorie intake and don't work a particular muscle. The body will preferentially
break down muscle tissue before fat during starvation since maintaining muscle
requires more energy than maintaining fat. During bed-rest, muscles atrophy
rapidly, even in fat people.
Muscle tissue can use fat for fuel, so it's easier to metabolize large amounts
of fat if you have large amounts of muscle.
I think this means that your best friend is right. I hope this helps, and
that you two can remain friends!
Reading the March 21 letter regarding power output, you linked to one site
with a power calculator; another good one is www.analyticcycling.com - it's
easy to use and has some useful breakdowns of the various formulas on there.
Simon van der Aa
Saddle sores treatment #2
Hey, this is in response to the saddle sore question. Scott recommended 'Boil-Ease'
as a drawing salve and it's not. Boil-Ease is a benzocaine cream that will relieve
pain but not actually help the boils mature. Several pharmacies sell their own
house brand, it can often be found under burn treatment, but usually with the
normal Neosporin type ointments. However, the best treatment is to prevent,
and the best way to do that is to wipe down with a Wet-One before, use Chamois
Butt'r, Assos, or Relief creams and then use a Wet-One after. The alcohol in
the Wet-Ones will kill the bacteria that causes these gross and painful bumps
while not drying out an area that is prone to chafing (because those wipes are
made for babies' butts). Plus they're cheap, available everywhere, and you can
throw it in your bag for weekend racing where you can't have a shower right
after to wash the valuables. One of Ed Burke's books, Serious Cycling, has a
good section on saddle sores, which is where I'm sourcing everything but the
WetOnes rec - that's my original (or, at least, I don't remember reading it
anywhere). Dr. Ed also says that a hot bath brings them to maturity and, from
my experience, a hot bath is much better than the sticky, burnt rubber smell
of drawing salves.
Ann Arbor, MI
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