Fast Talk, ep. 69: Functional training with Menachem Brodie

In episode 69, we discuss the critical but often neglected topic of functional training, which has both performance and injury prevention benefits.

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The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and our resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, discuss a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more.

We all ride bikes because we love being out on the road or trail, we love performing, we love the thrill. It’s the part of our meal we look forward to. Our vegetables are all the functional work we know we need, but tend to push to the side of the plate. It’s the strength work, conditioning, core, stretching, foam rolling, and PT that we so often ignore.

But if you want to be at your strongest and, more importantly, if you want to do this for a long time, this is the work you can’t skip. Whether you’re 21 or 51, it’s going to come back to haunt you as Trevor and our guest today will testify to.

So today, we’ll take a deep dive into functional training… literally. Trevor and I both get down on the floor of the studio to do some exercises, all in the name of getting this important message across. We’ll cover:

  • What is functional training? And why this buzz phrase is often misunderstood, and why cycling seems to be way behind the curve.
  • The two main benefits of functional work: improving your neuromuscular performance on the bike and preventing injury
  • Why functional training and staying healthy aren’t simply a matter of stretching or picking up the periodic heavy weight. Proper movement and form are key.
  • Then, Trevor and I will get on the floor and embarrass ourselves for a bit.
  • Next we discus how to evaluate functional fitness and why you should consider having the help of an expert.
  • The importance of belly breathing.
  • How cyclists can succumb to the pitfall of less-than-optimal firing patterns and not even know it.
  • Finally, Menachem Brodie, our guest today, walks through six key exercises for cyclists.

If there’s one thing we hope you get from this episode, it’s to do these exercises several times per week. See the list below.

Our primary guest today is the aforementioned Menachem Brodie, head coach at Human Vortex Training and a USA Cycling expert coach. Along with Menachem, we spoke with WorldTour riders Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First) and Brent Bookwalter (Michelton-Scott). Both riders emphasized the importance of functional work, even if it means spending an hour less on the bike.

We also connected with Jess Elliot, the owner of TAG Performance Strength and Conditioning. She talked with us about how easy it is for athletes to fall into poor muscle firing patterns.

So, sit up straight, flex those internal obliques, let’s make you fast!

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