Gettin' to the core of it all

In the fall of '04 I made some significant changes to my training routines, habits and mindset. The effect on race outcomes was huge.  It really is true what they say about training smarter, although I still tend to think harder is better too.  Character flaw for sure.  The biggies were:

- Became a beta tester for the Performance Manager
- Used an altitude tent
- Discarded the concept of slow base and off-season fitness losses (think threshold power)
- Focused on core work

While it's always hard to say what really works, the 3rd item was prolly the most beneficial for power development, the 2nd the most expensive, the first the best for race preparation and tapering, and the last the most healthy.  In fact, extensive core work the past 2 years has almost certainly made the injuries sustained in the recent crash less than they could have been and the subsequent healing waaaay faster than anyone expected (can I get a hell yea???). 

The core work I adopted was the stuff laid out by Mark Verstegen's Core Performance.  All but the most reclusive ostrich's use this program now ;)  It's great stuff and easy to do anywhere, anytime.  If core is lacking in a cyclists program, this can improve performance dramatically.

Verstegen has a new book out tailor made for endurance athletes, Core Performance Endurance.  It was a pre-order item at Amazon a month ago and my copy arrived while I was riding my fat ass off in St George.  I've been running the program through it's paces for 4 days now and have discovered some new muscles, that's always a good sign ;)  One aspect of the book that is quickly leaving a big impression is the stuff on regeneration.  He goes into many way to get to trigger points, relieving pain and tightness.  I never knew a tennis ball could inflict such sweet pain.  It's really too early for me to give it a two thumbs up, but based on his results with elite athletes and the result I had with his "made for everyone" book, it looks to be another winner.

So, fellow enduro head pack toting bike hauling energizer bunny in training, be sure to take care of that neglected region between your butt and neck and mind those energy leaks.

Here's to a healthy, strong, and happy new year!

Published Monday, January 01, 2007 10:14 AM by Dave
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# @ Monday, January 01, 2007 11:37 AM

Gonna have to check that book out.....

Joining the y and starting to swim some more as another bit of training this year. Got in just under 16k of miles this past year and rode 349 days =)

Shooting for 20k this coming year and making sure i'm the first to do the gdr on a fixie =)

Thanks for your blog even though I really don't understand a lot of what your talking about =)


# @ Monday, January 01, 2007 8:29 PM

I'm gonna second that "have to check that out". Have you ever done much with Pilates? I'm curious how Core Performance compares. Pilates is big with the model/dancer set because it focuses on core muscle strength while lengthening/toning all of the other muscles. Keeps them from bulking up using free weights.

Travis S

# @ Tuesday, January 02, 2007 6:12 AM

349 days Dave? I think you have an addiction problem! GDR fixed, that is huge.

Travis - haven't tried Pilates before, but I can say that as a result of all my changes in '04 my race weight went down 10 lbs. Power to weight is everything and if you can't get more power that leaves one option ;) Most of the core exercises can be done with latex bands. Big 5 has the kit for $25 bucks.


# @ Tuesday, January 02, 2007 1:35 PM

I mix in Pilates with my core work when I'm not slacking on the whole core thing. Rollovers are killer. I used to teach Pilates many moons ago. An easy to follow Pilates book is The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler.


# @ Thursday, January 04, 2007 10:33 AM

Still not sold on weights nor core workout stuff. Maybe I'm just lazy. But it seems like the best way to gain the strength needed to do X is to do X...blah blah blah, I know it's been said before but, you know.

I think bagging the slow base is a monumental improvement most people can make.