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Cycling and Spinning® for Football Players

By Jennifer Sage On August 16, 2013 Under General Fitness and Health

Kellen Winslow on a bikeKellen Winslow is a professional football player, currently for the New York Jets, and formerly for a variety of teams. A motorcycle accident almost ruined his career back in 2005 with an ACL tear and staph infection. Now, to keep himself in shape during the off-season, and even in-season, he rides a bike. A 240 pound football player rides a bike! Oh how I wish there were more of them who could see the immense benefits! Read this article about how Kellen uses his bike to stay in shape, and to keep his knees strong without the stress.

Kellen says, “It helps my knee out, keeps me in top shape. I feel great when I do it, I feel lousy when I don’t,” Winslow said. “For training camp, I put it in the back of my car, took the front tire off and just put it in there with the rest of my stuff. That’s all I do in the offseason is ride. I climb those hills in San Diego. Climbing is brutal enough; you don’t have to lift weights if you climb those hills. I do push-ups and upper body stuff but that’s it. That’s my offseason workout – pretty much riding.”

I love that Kellen rides a bicycle, but I can see that many football players would not venture outside on the road. I would venture a guess that many have never really even ridden a bicycle, except perhaps as a young child. But…we can get them into indoor cycling / Spinning® classes! The group training, the lack of worry about cars, not having to stop for traffic or lights, the ability to structure their training intensity to exactly what is needed….imagine the benefits to the players and the team! They pound the heck out of their joints in their training. Sure, they still will need to continue pounding each other, because well, that’s what football entails. But, if they could transfer some of their high-intensity cardio training, as well as endurance training from the track to the bike (not all mind you, I understand the need for specificity of training), then they could reduce their risk of overuse and stress injury to their joints while increasing the strength in those important joints, especially the knees.

The article says that Kellen rides five times a week. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday he rides for roughly 90 minutes and tries to pace at least for 25 miles. On Saturday he ramps it up and logs roughly 50 miles. As grueling as it sounds, he said,“Nothing can beat it.” At 6-4 and 240 pounds he isn’t a prototypical cyclist, but he takes it seriously.

“It takes pressure off your legs, you feel better off of it,” Winslow said. “I’m riding every day. I have to. If I don’t, I just don’t feel right. I’m even thinking about it right now.”

Is anyone working with any professional athletes in indoor cycling? How about football?

(Photo: USA Today Sports Images, Yahoo Sports)

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