Last weekend the first of the Gerard Hartmann performance workshops took place in the University of Limerick. In January I am assisting Gerard in presenting Bespoke Cycling workshops so went along to the Flexibility workshop as a participant.
David Campbell, the former Irish 800m and 1500m champion, who works with Gerard in the Hartmann International Sports injury clinic assisted on the day, and was almost as insightful and enlightening as Gerard himself.
As the day began Gerard turned to David and asked how much time was spent on stretching during the four year Chartered Physiotherapist course that David graduated from in University College Dublin. The surprising reply came ‘just about four hours in total over the entire four years’. I thought to myself, ‘that means that we will learn as much today about stretching as someone who attends University for 8 years‘. We actually learned more, as Hartmann is the Worlds leading expert on stretching, flexibility and conditioning for sportspeople.
This was a great example of just how undervalued the practice of stretching is. Every sportsperson talks about stretching, usually with the very same phrase ‘I really should do more”. It is an area that can make a huge impact on performance, recovery and injury prevention that the vast majority of people overlook, or just don’t make time for. If I were to think of two people I know well who do actually stretch, and always did throughout their cycling careers, immediately I think of Mehall ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Robert Power. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are both former National Champions.
Cycling is a time demanding sport. Most cyclists use this as an excuse for not stretching but Hartmann advises that there can be more of a performance benefit by reducing training time in order to incorporate a correct stretching routine than spending that same amount of time on the actual training itself.
The Cycling workshops in January will be a first of their kind. Gerard, who has worked with some of the top Professional cyclists in the World will present a ‘Prehab Programme’ that he recommends to cyclists to prevent injury.
There will be a strong practical element to the workshop as Cyclists will learn the correct specific stretching routine for cycling, along with corrective stability strength exercises that will help to prevent injury.
His programme also addresses underlying structural or postural imbalances that lead to underperformance and overuse injuries. Many who have taken up cycling in recent years have done so after sustaining injuries in other sports such as running, football, etc. These injuries are often still present and can cause imbalances in the body that can present themselves as discomfort elsewhere when on the bike.
As Gerard will be covering preventative maintenance for the body I will be covering preventative maintenance for the bike. In breakout sessions during the day I will be covering areas such as the essential safety checks to carry out on your bike. How to carry out emergency roadside repairs and how to keep your bike in top condition, just like the pros.
With Gerards’ many years of experience working with the very best athletes and cyclists in the World and my many years spent working on the bikes of and riding alongside some of the Worlds best cyclists, the workshop will be a very insightful and rewarding experience for cyclists of all levels.
In the lead up to the 2012 Olympics in London, 28 non european Athletes including Usain Bolt and Haile Gebrselassie applied for, and were granted special status visas by the Irish Department of Justice. The reason, was to enable them to visit Hartmanns’ Clinic in Limerick. This is just a small example of how the Worlds greatest athletes view the expertise he has to offer.
Sports companies like Specialized, Nike and New Balance also turn to Hartmann when designing new products.