Pilates for Cyclists: 
Pilates for Cyclists
What is it?
Pilates is an exercise system developed in the first half of the 20th century by Josepph Pilates, a German martial artist.nIt aims to improve overall fitness by strengthening the body, in particular the core.
Why is it good for Cyclists?
Whatever your standard, improving your efficiency in the saddle is the key to better riding. The more power you can produce for less effort, the faster and longer you will go. Pilates specifically targets your core, essentially your trunk from your knees to your armpits, and its this part of your body that keeps you stable on your bike. This reduces energy loss through wobbling and more power output through the pedals.
How does it work?
Pilates is based around 6 principles; Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Flow and Breath. Each helps create exercise discipline of both body and mind focussing on nailing the technique of each movement. Its less about doing lots of movement and more about doing a few repetitions right. Emphasis is placed on breathing to bring body and mind together and optimise the benefit of exercise on your muscles, oxygen being a fuel and all that!
What are the benefits?
Whilst Pilates can primarily help you, as a cyclist, to put down the watts efficiently, its actually best known for its ability to improve flexibility and posture. Most cyclist suffer from a range of ailments from sore backs and aching necks to a tightness in the shoulders that comes from long hours hunched over the drops. Pilates is a great way of making sure your back gets a good, safe stretching while lengthening and strengthening muscles in your back, neck and shoulders. It involves balance and stretching which can be a great aid to cyclists who often suffer tight carves, hamstrings and thigh muscles, whilst the emphasis on resistence and using your body weight on you bones and joints can help increase bone density and so make you less susceptable to fractures should you take an unexpected trip over your handlebars!
[Thanks to Bikes Etc magazine]
Courses for Cyclists
Pilates classes and available from a number of local sports centres and Physio's. Courses specifically for cyclists are less common.