Pilates for flexibility?

by craig749   April 30, 2014  

I never thought I'd be asking this question but can anyone recommend a good Pilates DVD? Although I cycle everyday (200 miles a week), as a road rider by flexibility is terrible. As I want to possibly do some time trialing in the near future I think improving my flexibility will be a good place to start.

Thanks in advance for your help Smile

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I go to a Pilates class - it means I get an hour's quality exercise once a week and ensures I do the exercises properly. I'd recommend a class.

Pilates is great - i suffer much less from a sore back than i used to, so longer rides on the bike are now much more pleasant! Pilates works your muscles quite hard though, so you'll probably need to do additional stretching!

posted by BikeBud [96 posts]
30th April 2014 - 20:39

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+1 for Pilates not just for flexibility but for core strength which will improve your power.
It is something that at the very beginning you'd be best going to classes because some of the moves are quite subtle and an instructor would undoubtedly help, especially if you are inflexible at the moment.

posted by arfa [449 posts]
30th April 2014 - 21:13

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+1 for a class. I have a couple of DVDs and a real instructor who comes and prods you when you get it wrong makes all the difference. Plus it's a good laugh. Or at least the class I go to is.
From someone who could not get on the drops, I now ride on the drops mainly, I've dropped my stack height, and I get so flat on tri bars my knees are coming right up to my chest. Riding on the drops, I'm not putting my weight through my arms, so I have them bent, and loose, so no more ulna paralysis, and being able to drop my shoulders in, I don't get neck ache any more. All after 6 months of classes. 3 years of using the DVDs did nothing.
One other benefit, my musclature is rather different to the girls, none of whom cycle as much as I do, and we've had to tailor some of the exercises a little. Which my instructor has been brilliant at doing.

posted by robdaykin [160 posts]
30th April 2014 - 22:41

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robdaykin wrote:
+1 for a class. I have a couple of DVDs and a real instructor who comes and prods you when you get it wrong makes all the difference. Plus it's a good laugh. Or at least the class I go to is.
From someone who could not get on the drops, I now ride on the drops mainly, I've dropped my stack height, and I get so flat on tri bars my knees are coming right up to my chest. Riding on the drops, I'm not putting my weight through my arms, so I have them bent, and loose, so no more ulna paralysis, and being able to drop my shoulders in, I don't get neck ache any more. All after 6 months of classes. 3 years of using the DVDs did nothing.
One other benefit, my musclature is rather different to the girls, none of whom cycle as much as I do, and we've had to tailor some of the exercises a little. Which my instructor has been brilliant at doing.

You describe many of the issues I have! *google searches local PIlates classes*

6 months is a great turn around

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [195 posts]
1st May 2014 - 3:56

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Classes are much better than DVD's I'm yet to get round to it, but I lad I ride with has had similar success to those mentioned.

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posted by glynr36 [280 posts]
1st May 2014 - 9:39

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robdaykin - Can I ask how old you are? I'm wondering I can realistically expect this type of improvement or how much of the damage done over the years of inflexibilty is permanent!

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
1st May 2014 - 13:00

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I'll admit to over 40. We have some errr... mature ... ladies in the class, who are improving week by week. So I suspect you can improve at any age. Though turnaround probably varies a lot.

First about 3 sessions made a huge difference. Came out pretty energised from the classes, and with core switched on, so it changed my posture riding home. Recreating that feeling every time I remember to on a ride has helped between classes. I cycle to work, and don't drive so that's at least 12 rides per week on average. Typical week is about 12-15 hours on the bike.

Since then got a pre ride upper body workout that I use before planned long rides to make sure core is working from start, and using some of the leg stretches post ride to counter muscle shortening.

So 6 months is quite a long time if you think I do 1 class and a dozen or more mini sessions per week. And I still do get some discomfort after long rides, though the time before getting uncomfortable is getting longer. Plus I have barely dipped in mileage over winter, I'm over 3000 miles this calendar year as of today.

1 thing to watch out for is cramp. I get foot cramp from the exercises quite often, which I think is related to riding. Bananas and milk before the class seem to offset that.

posted by robdaykin [160 posts]
1st May 2014 - 20:49

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This is great feedback, anybody from the South East?

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [195 posts]
1st May 2014 - 21:57

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Thank you all for the feedback. From what you are all saying DVD's are a waste of time and classes are the way to go. Time to start looking for classes in that case!

@robdaykin how flexible we're you before you started the classes?

Thanks

Craig

posted by craig749 [18 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 15:30

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I do some yoga moves 3/4 times a week. I have done classes but could only do one a week and that's not enough to use it as stretching.

Effectively, I do continuous rounds of sun salutation for 20 minutes, mixed in with a few other lower back/ hip yoga moves.
Whichever route, active stretching is great for body and core

posted by SB76 [80 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 19:23

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Not sure how you'd measure. Not great around lower back and hips in my estimation, but not bad. Not prone to aches and pains off the bike. The difference for me is less about increased flexibility as the muscle strength to actually support and use that flexibility. All very well being able to get into a tuck, but if you seize up after 10 seconds (which I used to) and have to go back to the tops, it's not much good.
I'd say my range has increased on some flexes over time, but couldn't quantify it usefully.
Is that any help?

posted by robdaykin [160 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 20:27

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