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Yoga strength moves compliment your routine

October 7, 2015

American Council on Exercise posted this brilliant sequence of yoga strengthening moves, a perfect compliment to your off season endurance training. Take a look:


Jessica Matthews  //  Fitness  //  9/24/2015

Strength training is a critical component of a well-rounded fitness routine. If you find yourself consistently gravitating toward activities such as running, walking or cycling, consider supplementing your cardio-focused routine by performing resistance-training exercises at least two to three days non-consecutive days per week to build total body strength, boost bone mineral density and increase overall functional capacity. The following yoga poses utilize body weight and the support of props to enhance muscular strength and endurance, and to improve dynamic balance.

High-to-low Lunge Variation

Stand with feet together at the top of a mat. With hands on the hips, step the left foot back approximately 3 to 4 feet. Keeping the left heel lifted to remain on the ball of the foot, slowly bend the right knee, keeping it aligned with the second toe of the right foot as the thigh draws toward parallel to floor. Inhale, sweeping the arms overhead; bring the palms to face one another while continuing to maintain a lunge position, actively pressing the left heel toward the back wall. Exhale to connect the palms overhead and then lower the hands to heart center while lowering the left knee until it hovers a few inches off of the mat. Inhale and re-extend the left leg, sweeping the arms up and returning to a high lunge position. Repeat this sequence of movements for three to five complete cycles of breath.

Chair Pose

Stand near the top of a mat with feet together and arms alongside the body. As you inhale, hinge forward at the hips and bend the knees. Lower into a squat position while drawing the thighs toward parallel with the floor. Keeping both feet rooted firmly into the floor and the legs actively pressing together, exhale to lean the torso forward slightly, drawing the tailbone slightly down toward the mat (slight pelvic tilt) to avoid excessive arching in the lower back. Inhale once again, extending the arms toward the ceiling with palms facing one another with pinkies turned in slightly. Hold this position for three to five complete cycles of breath.

Supported Extended Side Angle

Stand at top of a mat with feet together; place a block at the tallest setting outside of the right foot. Step the left foot back 3 to 4 feet, turning the left toes toward the left side of the mat at almost a 90-degree angle; your chest should face the left side of the room. Align the heel of the front right foot with the arch of the back left foot. Slowly bend the right knee and move the thigh toward parallel with the floor, keeping the right knee aligned with the second toe of the right foot. Inhale, and extend the arms out wide in opposition, reaching toward the front and back edges of the mat while gazing over the right fingertips. Exhale to reach forward slightly with right fingertips and then release the right hand to rest atop the block. Draw the left fingertips toward ceiling, keeping the arms in line with the shoulders. If seeking more intensity, draw the left arm over the left ear, turning the palm to face the floor and reaching forward from the fingertips. Hold this position for three to five complete cycles of breath before switching sides and repeating.

Warrior I

Begin standing with feet together near the front of a mat with hands on hips. Step the left foot back approximately 3 to 4 feet, turning the left foot out at a 45- to 60-degree angle. Align the heel of the front right foot with the heel of the back left foot, if accessible. Keeping both feet rooted firmly into the mat, slowly bend the right knee. Be sure to keep the right knee aligned with the second toe of the right foot as thigh draws toward parallel with floor. Gently guide the right shoulder and hip slightly back while drawing the left shoulder and hip slightly forward, squaring the shoulders and hips as much as accessible toward the front edge of the mat. Inhale to extend arms overhead with palms facing one another, pinkies turned in slightly. Exhale to soften the shoulders away from the ears while maintaining a neutral spine and depth in the posture. Hold this position for three to five complete cycles of breath before switching sides and repeating.

One-legged Upward Salute to Airplane Pose

Stand slightly forward on a mat with feet together, arms alongside the body. Inhale to sweep the arms overhead, shifting your weight to the right foot to lift the left foot off the mat while keeping the knee bent at a 90-degree angle and the hips in line with one another. From this one-legged balancing position with a slight bend in the right knee, exhale to lean the torso forward, extending the arms alongside the body. Bring the palms to face one another, gently lifting through the chest to draw the shoulder blades together. At the same time, allow the left leg to extend and draw parallel to the floor, actively pressing the left heel toward the back of the room while keeping the hips squared toward the mat. Inhale once again to bend the left knee and re-extend the arms overhead, returning to the starting one-legged balancing position. Repeat this sequence of movements for three to four complete cycles of breath before switching sides and repeating, tapping the left foot down as needed between movements.

Supported Four-limbed Staff Pose

Begin in a high-kneeling position toward the back of a mat. Create a hip-width sized loop with a strap and place it around the upper arms, just above the elbows. Assume an extended table-top position, placing the hands just slightly beyond the shoulders while keeping the knees on the floor, hip-width distance part. Inhale to shift the chest slightly forward, drawing the heart between the thumbs while keeping the core engaged. Exhale to slowly bend the elbows, keeping them close to your body as you lower halfway down; begin to draw the upper arms toward parallel with the floor. The use of the strap helps to promote safe alignment in the pose as you work toward building strength. It helps you keep the elbows close to the body and in line with the shoulders while also supporting the ribs to create awareness of proper depth in the pose to protect the shoulders. For more intensity, this pose can also be performed from a high-plank position on toes with legs fully extended, heels pressing toward the back wall. Hold the lowest part of the pose for one to two cycles of breath before pressing back up to the starting position and taking a brief moment of rest. Repeat a total of four to five times, focusing on core engagement and overall alignment.

Locust Pose Variation

Lie in a prone position on a mat with the arms extended alongside the body and the legs either together to touch or parted just shy of hip-width distance. Depending on your level of comfort, you may choose to position the palms to face toward one another, or to remain open toward the ceiling. Maintaining length in the spine, inhale to lift the chest and thighs off the floor, actively stretching through the fingertips and toes. As you exhale, maintain this lifted position, keeping the neck in a neutral position by gazing a few inches out beyond the front edge of the mat on the floor. Hold this position for three to five complete cycles of breath.

Boat Pose Variation

Assume a seated position on the mat with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lightly hold the backs of the thighs with the hands to gently lift the chest; maintain an extended spine. Keeping the core engaged, recline the torso back slightly without rounding the spine. Inhale to gently lift the right foot off the floor, drawing the right thigh parallel to the mat. Exhale to lift the left foot off the floor, drawing the left thigh parallel to the mat, continuing to lightly hold the backs of the thighs for support. Inhale once again to extend the arms, reaching the fingertips either forward toward your elevated feet or toward the ceiling, depending on your preferred level of intensity. Hold this position for three to five complete cycles of breath.

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Five reasons to revisit your bike fit in October

October 1, 2015


It’s October, full cyclocross season is underway, and the mountain bike and road racing seasons have generally come to a close. October is a fantastic time to revisit your bike fit, here are 5 reasons why you might want to revisit your fit, from me: the Roaring Mouse Cycles Certified Body Geometry Bike Fit Specialist 

If you’re ready to book an appointment – head to the website and book online! If you need some convincing – read my 5 tips below.


5 reasons to revisit your bike fit
–by Marissa Axell, Certified BG bike fit specialist @ RMC


1) “Free Speed”

One of the biggest compliments I’ve received from serious competitive cyclists and weekend warriors alike is when they exclaim “I am faster now that I had a fit!” Boom! Strava doesnt lie.  Bike fitting helps bring your body and bike into alignment, mainly helping you maintain a neutral and most biomechanically efficient position. When the body is in alignment, you go faster without really trying. 

2) Cure what ails you 

One of the biggest complaints about cycling from nearly everyone, is: “my (insert body part here) hurts all the time”. Whether it’s your crotch, feet, hands, shoulders, neck, or a combination of all of these, I can help solve what ails you. You do NOT need to suffer, we can work to solve your collective pains with a bike fit.


3) You just got a new bike

Congratulations, you just got the sweet new bike of your dreams. You’ve set it up just like all your other bikes, after all a bike is a bike is a bike, right? Although it’s made of lighter, stiffer carbon and it’s glossier all around AND has the newest fastest components, it doesn’t ride like the bike of your dreams. Do not despair, book a bike fit.


4) You just celebrated a birthday

Congratulations on your recently completed trip around the sun! As we age, we generally become less flexible, and depending on your training habits, you’re either more or less fit than the last time you began your trip around the sun. As the body changes, it’s a good time to revisit your bike fit. We will measure your flexibility and asymmetries to make sure you remain injury free.


5) Your racing season is over/just beginning

You just finished your racing season, and heading into the off-season. In a few more weeks, you’ll be back out on your bike logging some longer miles. If you’ve neglected the bike fit, now is a good time to revisit everything, to make certain you’re not headed toward an overuse injury, and help replace worn equipment like worn saddles, shoes, footbeds, pedals, etc.

Maybe your season is just beginning – hello crossers! You’re in the groove of training and have put off the bike fit for later. Getting the fit dialed in ahead of the meat of the racing season will assure you’re not headed for overuse injuries, and that you’re getting the most out of the power you’ve already developed –see #1


Race Recap: Red Kite #8, Tri-Valley Critpalooza

June 25, 2015

Words by Dean Abt, Team Oakland Cycling Cat 3 racer


The Ancient-Man category at the Red Kite Series has been simmering with drama all year, sort of. I was leading, then not, then leading again. I had flatted but finished last in one crit and managed to be present in more events than most so even if the “Elite Metamucil Sprinters”, (not Metromint, Metamucil), usually finished ahead of me I’ve been a steady close-by.

That said, my most spectacular failure has been the “55-only prime”. Cruelly, Steve Rosenfield, (promoter and nice guy, except for this), makes this prime 2nd lap of each criterium. Like old people warm up fast or something, dude. We always combine with the 45 1-2-3, which is great for a faster/safer race, but those youngsters always mess with our prime. Here’s how geriatric sprints have gone for me so far this year:

1st crit: Out front full gas from the gun with 3 CoreTech guys who team up to virtually slaughter me while their 55+ ringer takes it on the line

2nd crit: Straight off the front like a cannon with a 45+ beast named Steve Heaton who had won his previous 2 races, joined 2nd lap by 3 others including current national champ Dan Martin. Da Fuq!! Richey Jones (Oakland) surfs wheels, lastly mine, to take the prime, then drops immediately, leaving me with 3 elite guys I’m sure will stay away – but they start yelling at each other and we are caught Lap 3. So I got Zero for the dig.

3rd crit: Crap now I think “screw the prime” I’ll save it this time, but should have went for it as I had no sprint in the end anyway and it would have been double points.

4th crit: This past weekend I am 100% focused on winning the 55’s so I don’t even think about the prime, but mild-mannered Bill Brissman, (he’s docile until sprinting – then vampire teeth), does and it was again double-points so despite finishing 2 places behind me in the race he collects more points and gets to within 16 or so points of my yellow jersey…now it’s like a hotly contested Grand Tour with 6 stages left, just slower.

OK so from now on I’m going to make it a goal to take the 55+ primes and accompanying points. Ant is already doing a shit-ton of work for me in these races and I may need to bribe him to lead these out also. I’m 0 for 4, the only way is up.

The Red Kite Masters 1-2-3s, (35, 45 & 55), have gotten steadily faster and more competitive during the season. People are getting fit and many care about the overall competition. Attacks virtually every lap and very high pace, even team tactics. Fields aren’t always huge but there are big guns in every event with teammates willing to block and chase. And not to tempt fate, but the crash count has gone down steadily as well. Being in the hunt for the overall has made the races really, really fun.

About 90 degrees. This is important to note as heat, (and altitude), had me cross-eyed at Tour De Nez in Reno the previous week. The 45/55 1-2-3 starts with attacks at mile .2, and they keep going. Ant and I fight for position and to stay hidden as we decided we are waiting and marking the dangerous moves.

Ant keeps my competition guessing by attacking, repeatedly, including a bridge to the break on bell-lap (!). I definitely don’t pay him enough. With 2 to go we are near the front and Mr. C goes by on my left, moving into his sweet spot for the finale. Ant quickly points out his movement to me in a well-timed bit of advice I should have listened to more closely.

I do have legs – I can feel them, able to go fast I mean. This is because of one simple reason – I am now coached by Ant’s wife Marissa, which is truly awesome and in a few short weeks taught me many things, including: 1) I was overtraining and 2) I didn’t know jack-ass shit about training. My season has quite literally turned around. But I’m still not as good as Mr. C at positioning for the sprint – he’s nestled in right behind the pointy edge of the 45’s and even though I gain on him in the last 50 meters he’s got 2 bike lengths on me at the line…2nd place, this time.

Six events to go in the Red Kite series and I’m clinging to the lead with a narrow margin. If I show up and practice counting to three I may be good to hold for the roses, or Bianchi socks, as it were, or more wine.


Trainer workout weekend: a playlist

February 7, 2015

I’m pleased to put together an inspiring playlist for 90 minutes of tough love on the trainer this weekend. Here you go!

Sat playlist



Circuit class crushers

February 6, 2015


14 Members crushing their limits today at Cardio-tone! Heres they celebrate  “halfway done” with planks!

Here’s our workout:
Hang pull with kettlebells
Walking lunges with dumbell
Push ups
Good mornings with dumbell
Pull ups
Flutter twists
Atomic squats
Mountain climbers
45 seconds each
30 min total

Your Fool-Proof, Beach-Ready workout Ready. Set. Go.

January 26, 2015

Headed to a holiday but don’t want to lose what fitness and strength you’ve worked hard to gain? Are you already at the beach? Here’s a fool-proof beach-ready workout.

What do I need? Some workout clothes, sturdy shoes (or you can go barefoot if you’re on the beach).

Where? You can do this anywhere, your hotel pool deck, or the sand.

What do I do? Using only your body-weight, feel good and build or maintain strength with this workout in under 15 minutes.

Surfer Steps: Start in a deep lunge, with your left foot forward, and right knee about 1 inch from the ground. Strive to keep your shoulders and hips balanced over your right (rear) knee. From the lunge, jump UP and Twist 90 degrees to the Right, landing in a squat position. Return to start. Do 10 like this. Then complete 10 on the left.

Plank Up-n-Downs: In a plank position, draw your belly button up to your spine, while on hands and toes (or knees for beginners) slowly lower to your elbows, one at a time. Then back up to your hands. Do this 10-15 times.

Duck Lunges: In a half squat position, step back to a lunge with your right leg, quickly drag your toe back to the squat without standing up. Do 15 and then switch legs.

Push Up with Cross Under: On hands and toes (or knees) do a pushup on the ground. Once back to a tall plank on hands and toes, draw your left knee toward your right elbow and back. Repeat pushup sequence, and alternate the leg next time. For advanced athletes, bring your knee underneath you as you descend into the pushup (not after). Try for 10-15 pushups.

Plank rolls: Start in a side plank on your right elbow. Draw your core toward your spine, and squeeze your glutes. Bring your left forearm down, (parallel to the right forearm) and lift right arm off the ground as you ascend to a left side plank. Switch sides 20 times.

favorite flashback – Joan Jett empowers the class

January 21, 2015

I am starting a new, occasional series, outlining some of my cycling class’ favorite songs. I love invigorating indoor cycling classes by ending with an empowering throwback song, and who doesn’t love a little Joan Jett?

Joan Jett – I Hate Myself for Loving You

The setup: 4:07 song – use it for a finishing sprint,  where we can, and should, ” let it all hang out”, this is the final interval set of your day! Sometimes we hate ourselves for one thing or another – use that anger for weakness to fuel the fire in your belly, and the pain in your legs.

The dirty details: challenge each person to hit their highest power of the day here.You’ll ride about 65 rpms on a moderate hill, sprints will increase up to 90 rpms.

To start, spin easy for the first 40s (ideally you’ve just finished a hard effort, this is the rest interval)

Then, stand  for 20s at a moderate -hard gear – set up for your sprint. Find a gear where you feel your cadence slow and you must use effort to overcome the resistance.
1:04:00 – sit down and sprint for 15sec,
1:18:00 – sit down and ride easy (or moderate)
1:58:00 – stand up and push  for 20s
2:10:00 – sit  and drive it hard! for 15s
2:27:00 – sit  and recover, – one more! 40s
2:57:00 – stand  up and ratchet up the gear, 30sec hard,
3:12:00 – sit and crush it one last time for 15sec,

I enjoy finishing with this song, using the “hate” to fuel their fire!

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