Sports medicine specialist Simon Moyes gives us some tips on how to fast-track your fitness and return to riding when injured.
1. Take time out
Falls from the bike can cause knee and ankle injuries but overuse injuries predominantly involve the knee, particularly the patellar femoral part — where the kneecap articulates with the thigh bone. These two groups of injuries will regularly keep a cyclist off the bike for six weeks or more. Maintaining fitness and strength while recovering is vital.
2. Get in the pool
Swimming is one of the easiest and safest ways to maintain your cardiovascular stamina and a 30-60-minute pool session focused on varying strokes (for example two lengths of breaststroke and one length of crawl) can work well as a zero impact, whole body workout during your recovery.
3. Seated weights
Even if you’re carrying an injury in your lower limbs you can still do seated weights in the gym to maintain upper body strength — aim for 30 minutes light weight work twice a week to challenge muscles and maintain tone.
4. Keep it static
Talk to your physiotherapist about using a static bike when the time is right and explore low-impact cardio exercise using a cross-trainer.
5. Develop your core
Cyclists also frequently develop tight hip flexors, quads and hamstrings, so a break from cycling can be used to loosen up these muscle groups and work on core stability. Embark on a weekly yoga or pilates class as part of your rehab and ongoing performance-enhancing training.