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FitUP Training for Cycling
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 6/27/2005
FitUP Training for Cycling
 

FitUP Training,
A new look at total muscular fitness and generating power, escaping injury and rising above your fitness and training plateau.

 

Bike racers have used weight training in the gym as an off-season supplement for years now, with questionable results.  The exercises generally recommended help in increasing power and muscular strength, but at a large cost (muscular imbalances), and at an even greater risk (injury.) 
By focusing on only the large primary muscles and disregarding the smaller muscles that aid in efficient movement, weightlifting can contribute to large muscular imbalances and greatly increase the risk of injury.

During the middle of the season the body often reaches a plateau in which gains are minimal.  There comes a point where logging more miles, adding intensity, and/or doing intervals will not make significant or noticeable improvements in the rider's performance. Adding traditional weight training (even with light weights) will only add drag to the development of his or her racing skills. 
So what happens when the rider who has been working so hard since October logging base miles, watching their diet, going to bed early, going to the weight room, doing interval training, attending ridiculously hard group rides, and generally being as (or more!) dedicated to the sport of bike racing than the average U.S. professional (that's you, captain) is still languishing in the middle of the Cat. III field unable to get in a break, win the field sprint, or make any conceivable mark at all on the race?

What do you do as a coach?  Why are they still racing their bikes?   Are they really having fun?  Are they even really racing their bikes to their full capacity?

Most bike racing enthusiasts (bike racers, as they call themselves) are not complete athletes.  We can address the imbalances existing in their bodies immediately.  The difference between two riders is not simply how much work the quadriceps, for example, can do, but how efficiently it does it. 
That efficiency can be traced to the support muscles (or micro-muscles) in the hips, spine, neck, and limbs; these muscles support and stabilize the larger muscle masses in doing work in the full range of motion, not often worked in the typical weight lifting program. Some people may have a predisposition towards this muscle equilibrium, but in most cases cyclists do not.  An athlete coming from another sport, for instance, already has some of the tools taught to him or her during the training for their applicable sport.

 FitUP has a training program to place the cyclist in an unbalanced environment (like the bike) to expose the weaknesses not addressed by any existing program. 
Our program is based on three principles: 1) bare feet, 2) unstable environments, and 3) light weights. The exercises are done barefoot to strengthen the many muscles of the toes and feet commonly neglected in cycling.  The cycling shoe is, by design, one of the most effective braces ever invented.  It restricts the movement of the foot to add to the efficiency of the repetitive motion of pedaling.  But always training in these special shoes can lead to key imbalances, leading to injuries, which are addressed by adding even more braces (custom foot beds, orthotics, and even custom shoes) which lead to even more imbalances later on.
Our only mechanical connection to the bicycle becomes our weakest link!  What cyclist can't wait to get their shoes off after a really hard fast crit or road race?   What if there was training to address these imbalances/injuries?  There is, FitUP.

In the program utilized by FitUP, the less stable/familiar the environment, the more the micro-muscles are challenged to provide aid and assistance to the primary muscles.  We use a large Swiss training ball, an adjustable angle board, wobble boards/balance disks, and plastic pipes to challenge the user's nervous system, promoting growth and development of all muscle groups, large and small, primary and support.

The light weights employed by the FitUP trainers are probably the heaviest 4, 6, and 10 lbs. an athlete ever lifted.  Why?  Because of the unstable nature of the exercises, the multi-planar motion of the exercises, and the dynamic challenge of both accelerating and decelerating the weights, all while relying on the balance and coordination of the individual.

The exercises of the program have the athlete standing on one foot on the angle board, teetering on two black plastic pipes, balancing on both wobble boards, lying face-down on the ball, lying on the ground with their heels on the ball, lying with their spine curved over the top of the ball, and even upside-down with their hands on the ground and their knees on the ball.  Now add the special spherical weights with handles (which the athlete can even use on his or her foot) and even the most accomplished pro-level athlete is fully challenged.  It's hard…Very hard.  But fun...like bike racing.

Endurance, quickness, strength, reaction time, confidence, power, mental stamina, agility, flexibility; these are the key words every coach would like to say they augmented in each of their clients. 
We can help.  We have shown our techniques to cycling coaches who have, in turn, referred their clients to us.  We have made tremendous progress with even the most plateau’ed clients.

Coaches, riders, and even "normal" people are encouraged to call FitUP for a free demonstration of the exercises, as well as an in-depth discussion of its merits.  Their rates are reasonable, and group rates are available.

An introduction to contributors Aaron Musicant and Ken Toman:
Aaron Musicant, 21,  was an accomplished junior cyclist, medaling at  the junior national cycling championships in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002, and a two-time winner of  the California Junior State Criterium Championships. 
At 18 he laid the bike to rest and picked up his books to begin his studies at the University Of California, Berkeley.  He has been studying fitness and exercise physiology, and is about to transfer to UCLA to further studies in Biochemistry.
Aaron is a fitness trainer with extensive personal and professional experience in the weight room.  Initially skeptical about the FitUP program, he decided to gradually work it into his exercise regimen;  he has since incorporated it as the main component of the workout routine for himself and the people he trains.

Ken Toman, 36, has been racing bicycles for 12 years, and turned professional in 2002 as a teammate to Ryan Barrett (Daily Peloton contributor) on the Schroeder Iron team. 
In 2003, they were teammates again on Monex. 
Since then, he has been on the L.A. based professional-level team Helen's Cycles/RPM since 2004 with Mike Tillman, Harm Jansen, Jason Van Marle and other ex-professionals.  He has extensive experience in training and competing in many sports, and was on the receiving end of rehabilitation for two years due to a collision with a car while training in 1996.  Since the injury, he has spent all his energies towards achieving his athletic goals, and would now like to help others do the same.

FitUP Contacts:

Aaron Musicant
fit_up@hotmail.com
805-451-7794

Ken Toman
fit_up@hotmail.com
323-899-3339
"Bring It!!!" Ryan Barrett


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