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Ok we all know that traditional floor exercises are great for the back, but has anyone tried the Pilates method for cycling? My wife likes it a lot especially because it claims to focus on developing the deeper abdominals and other core muscles. It also does not tend to build bulk, which is likely good for weight-conscious cyclists (who want to climb a lot, not sprint).

I have been experiencing some back pain lately - typical mild early-season pain that sharpens upon doing an interval. I'm sure it will go away with a couple more weeks of riding, but since I'm interested in building towards strong climbing power I am planning to build more support for my back overall - something that doesn't always develop with traditional cycling. Is Pilates too 'weak' to be of much use for this? I understand that dancers have used it for many decades, but what they do isn't as aerobically intense (or high output at all) as cycling, of course. So is Pilates simply 'queer eye for the straight back' or a legitimate supplement to bike training?
 

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My wife uses it too. We have the complete set with a DVD devoted to ABS. I am planning on using it this week and maybe for a while becasue I too get back pain from time to time.
 

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Pilates

I think Pilates is a great supplement to bike training. I've been practicing Pilates on the apparatus (reformer, trap table, etc) for close to 5 years. Recently I had my fitness level tested - my core strength is "awesome" to quote one of my teachers. In addition, the breath work has helped me control my breathing when climbing hills.

If there is a gym or studio near you, I'd recommend a few lessons from a certified teacher. It is possible to really hurt yourself if done incorrectly.
 

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I started out with just a complete weight training program with yoga classes to maintain flexibility. I added pilates & core dynamics at the local health club and recently switched over to "gravity pilates" ...(pilates on an incline glide board w/ cables, etc.) All of the core training classes add increased range of motion and a better development of core strength. My back problems are non-existent this year. As for intensity of the class, I can only compare an hour of pilates to an hour of power yoga. You won't want the class to run long !!
 

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Shockee said:
Ok we all know that traditional floor exercises are great for the back, but has anyone tried the Pilates method for cycling? My wife likes it a lot especially because it claims to focus on developing the deeper abdominals and other core muscles. It also does not tend to build bulk, which is likely good for weight-conscious cyclists (who want to climb a lot, not sprint).

I have been experiencing some back pain lately - typical mild early-season pain that sharpens upon doing an interval. I'm sure it will go away with a couple more weeks of riding, but since I'm interested in building towards strong climbing power I am planning to build more support for my back overall - something that doesn't always develop with traditional cycling. Is Pilates too 'weak' to be of much use for this? I understand that dancers have used it for many decades, but what they do isn't as aerobically intense (or high output at all) as cycling, of course. So is Pilates simply 'queer eye for the straight back' or a legitimate supplement to bike training?
Legitimate but can get expensive. Some insurance policies cover it. You can generally do mat classes for no additional charge at most clubs, but the reformer and other apparatus-based stuff costs $. If you think this is "weak" exercise then you haven't tried it. It is tough work. Some of it is hype, but it focuses on the core of the body and will help your flexibility, strength and coordination which should be just what you need for the bike. I say go for it.
 
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