Injury prevention is one of those things that we often neglect when we're healthy but wish we'd done when we're in pain. If you're riding/competing seriously, injury prevention measures should be an important part of your weekly training schedule. Along with preventing injuries, many of these methods also improve performance and could be the missing ingredient in escaping performance plateaus. Below are some methods that will help prevent injuries and increase performance
Stretching is the simplest and cheapest way to prevent injuries and should be a staple in your training regimen. Stretching lengthens your muscles which reduces tension on your joints and increases your all-round range of movement which prevents injury and increases efficiency.
Lifting weights a few times a week strengthens your muscles and joints which reduces risk of injury. Aim to use free-weights over machines as this will help to stabilize your joints better. Lifting weights also has other more obvious benefits such as increased muscle endurance and power.
Foam rollers that can be found at many sport's stores and physio therapy clinics are very useful tools in providing yourself with deep tissue massage. This helps to lengthen muscles while reducing tension in your joints. Foam rolling also increases recovery time and improves bloodflow to your muscles.
Off Season Workouts
It's important to keep fit in the off season if you plan to race in the competitive season. Beginning an intense training and racing season without proper preparation is sure to result in injury. Make use of indoor trainers, weight lifting and cross-training (running, swimming etc.) to keep your muscles and tendons conditioned. The off season is also an ideal time to strengthen your weaknesses which may include speed, endurance or technical skill. A successful off season is vital for a successful competitive season.