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Bulletproof your body like an athlete aft – GravelBikes.Online


It all started with a crash in August 2022 at the European Track Championships in Munich, when track cyclist Sophie Capewell collided with Great Britain cycling teammate Emma Finucane in the sprint event by teams With tears in Capewell’s eyes and a torn shirt, he left the velodrome for a medical assessment.

In the following days, it was stated that Capewell and his teammate were medically fine and would race in the next competition. At the time, thinking nothing more than a slight irritation in her hip, Capewell continued her grueling training schedule and competitive season, fighting through the pain.

“We’re athletes, you just get through it. Especially when you think it’s not that serious,” Capewell told GravelBikes.Online. “However, after a while of rest and the pain still not going away, that’s when I had a scan and we realized it was a bit more serious than we thought. From then on everything went change quickly and everything stopped for me.

“It was a big disappointment because it had been a tough year with all the big races, and my next race was the Champions League, which is one of the funnest races to be in, so it felt like another one. All of a sudden , everything was serious again.”

Since November 2022, when Capewell pulled out of the Champions League, the 24-year-old track cyclist has had to work hard off the bike to ensure she is bulletproof for next season. This has included a lot of work on the gym floor, focusing on his mobility and strength.

“When we first found out about my injury I took some time off completely,” Capewell said. “Then we slowly started to introduce lighter weights, moving through the different ranges of motion. From then on it was pretty much a constant week-to-week increase. The gym was one of the first things we introduced back into the my training plan because there are so many different things you can do and different ways to challenge certain areas.”

As part of the Great Britain cycling team, Capewell has a team of experts around her to help guide her through her injury. GBCT physiotherapist Hannah Crowley worked with Capewell to get her back on track. “It was Sophie’s hip that was the problem, so we were restricted when we went into deep hip flexion,” he said.

“As a sprinter, I usually did a lot of weight-based work like the squat or the leg press, but all of that requires you to go into deep hip flexion. So that’s where we had to think of ways she could still train. but avoid working on that point where the pain is being caused, therefore making the healing process easier. However, we still wanted Sophie to maintain muscle mass as a competitive athlete, so we looked at things like squatting into a box that limits the depth of that hip range.

Track cyclists need immense power in their legs, so you’ll often find them working hard in the gym (Image provided by Sophie Capewell)

“We also used something called blood flow restriction, where Sophie wore inflatable cuffs around her legs when she was doing exercises like bodyweight split squats. By reducing blood flow to the area, you then have to work harder . It’s kind of like doing it. a set of exercises but with extreme lactic acid.”

Read more: What now? Getting over the post-event blues

For any athlete, whether professional or amateur, being hit with an injury is never a pleasant experience, affecting not only physically, but also mentally. Going from training several times a day to completely getting off the bike and limiting strength and movement can demotivate even the strongest riders. However, Crowley looks for innovative ways to challenge his athletes.

“I know they’re in rehab, but they shouldn’t feel like they’re missing out or going backwards. If they try to do something a little different or something they haven’t done before, it’s going to bring it back. challenge element and so motivation,” he said.

“You need to find workouts that show them progress on a weekly basis, because that’s what they’re used to seeing in their normal training. That’s especially important for people with a long-term injury. Giving people small goals. hitting helps people continue their rehabilitation.”

Reaping the rewards of his hard work with Crowley and the British Cycling team over the past few months, Capewell competed at the European Championships earlier this year and claimed his first senior European medal. Now he has won medals again, he has had time to reflect on what he has been taught in recent months.

“I feel like the injury taught me a few things about following your own process,” Capewell said. “Everyone is on their own journey, and even though the rehab work has been really limited and restrictive at times, I don’t feel like I have any weaknesses anymore. I’ve come back stronger physically but also mentally.

“And winning the medal finished it. It’s only since Christmas that I’ve been able to train as hard as I can and that’s given me so much confidence going forward. I even tested my toughness when I fell at the Euros. [February 2023] – to the horror of my physio – and I’m fine. However, I wouldn’t recommend crashing to Review your body’s endurance.”

Back to action in the women’s sprint in Jakarta (Image by Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

Both Capewell and Crowley emphasized the importance of mobility in recovering from injury, but also its importance in protecting the body from future injury.

As cyclists we spend a lot of our time in a closed hip position, leaning forward, shoulders forward and head down, so our bodies will naturally adapt to these closed angles. This position can cause an imbalance in our body and leave us open to injury. So how do we prevent our cycling position from having a negative impact?

“The areas of the body that are the main cause of concern for cyclists are the hips, shoulders and upper back from this closed position. To avoid this, people should do easy stretches like the yoga,” Crowley said. “Strength training will also help mitigate any problems or injuries.

“For example, as a cyclist, you develop your quads well and can easily strengthen them in the gym. But what exercises could you do to target your hamstrings and glutes if you have problems with your hips? It might not seem like it. they have a direct impact on the area where you are suffering from an injury, but they will facilitate the strengthening of the area as a whole, directly affecting your performance.”

Crowley used this in Capewell’s rehab as he worked to get back on the bike. After working the muscles that support the area as a first step, Capewell was able to introduce the bike back into his weekly regimen.

Capewell races in the team sprint at the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup in Egypt with teammates Lowri Thomas and Emma Finucane (Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

“I did use the bike in my rehab, but just for easy turns, nothing max for quite a while,” Capewell said. “It took a while before I got back on the track and it wasn’t until Christmas time that I was able to work up to 100% effort on the bike. Now I’m at the end of my rehabilitation, most of the my training is back on the track and some in the gym.”

Hopefully there are more medals on the horizon for the track cyclist, especially in the run-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics. In the meantime, Capewell will continue to focus on his work in the gym to ensure that every muscle that support your hips be very strong.

Crowley echoed this: “Obviously, as a cyclist, you’re going to be willing to cycle, but it’s finding the time to cycle that will allow you to do more on the bike in the long run. But make sure that’s done in a sustainable way Jumping straight into a CrossFit class won’t be the best way to implement cross training into your routine, but focus on your range of motion, technique and loading appropriate for your needs.”

* Cover image by Alex Whitehead

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34 COMMENTS

    • You do realize that cake wont magically make us invincible, right? Its great to indulge in a sweet treat, but lets not forget the importance of taking care of our bodies. A balanced lifestyle is the key to both happiness and health.

  1. Cake-proofing your body may sound tempting, but remember that a strong body is more than just indulging in cake. Balancing fitness and nutrition is key for overall health. So, why not bulletproof your body while still enjoying a slice of cake? Its all about finding the right balance!

    • Sounds like youve got big dreams! Just remember, becoming an Olympic athlete takes years of dedication, sacrifice, and perseverance. Its not all glitz and glamour. But if youre ready to work your butt off and push through the pain, go for it! #NoPainNoGain

  2. Sorry, but body armor wont protect you from everything. Bullets have a way of finding weak spots. Its better to rely on a combination of skills, strategy, and defense. Dont underestimate the power of bullets, my friend.

    • Are you serious? Riding a bike to the pub wont protect you from accidents or gunfire. Bulletproof bodies, on the other hand, could save lives in dangerous situations. Lets prioritize safety over pub visits.

    • Sure, if you want to trade a healthy body for a sedentary lifestyle and a vitamin D deficiency. But hey, who needs physical strength, mental clarity, and a balanced life when you can mindlessly consume entertainment from the comfort of your couch?

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