Friday, October 31, 2008

The Tour de Cove and the Krankcycle

I had 90-minutes for my session at the Tour de Cove, and decided to dedicate an hour of it to climbing Alpe d'Huez, one of the more daunting climbs used in the Tour de France. I used some of my favorite songs from conferences, so if you have downloaded my playlists from WSSC, you'll probably have most of these. But here is my playlist to download as well as a brief description of what I spoke about for each song.

My theme was setting goals and overcoming excuses that get in our way of accomplishing our goals. These excuses are self-imposed - and we can choose to let them get in our way, or not. The amazing thing is that at this event we were surrounded by individuals who had some major physical obstacles, such as missing a limb or two (or four, as in the photo in my last post). If they can overcome these difficulties, these challenges, then we "able-bodied" individuals should be able to overcome our self-imposed limitations and excuses.

This young woman below is a perfect example. She has no feet...but she is a champion snowboarder, who will be featured in the upcoming Muscle and Fitness magazine. Her goal is to compete in the Paralympics once Snowboarding is an official sport. I don't think anything gets in the way of her goals!
Two challenged athletes on stage with me, David and Sarah, helped me encourage the participants up the 21 switchbacks of Alpe d'Huez. Every now and then one of them would tell their story, or explain how they overcame their own challenges to achieve their personal goals, as they coached the riders in the audience through a switchback or two.

Yes, we climbed the entire hour. I told them that rumor had it that Sheryl Crowe can climb Alpe d'Huez in 1 hr 36 minutes, which is quite a respectable time, but that they were all going to beat her and make it up in 60-minutes!

During the final segment when Jim Karanas was presenting (in which they had a live band playing for part of it - you can see the drums at the back of the stage) Johnny G explained to everyone his inspiration for creating the Krankcycle. Here's Johnny sitting on the edge of the stage. Jim Karanas is the guy standing with the black Kranking shirt.

When I first heard about the Krankcycle, I have to admit I was a bit cynical, thinking it would be boring, and that it was more for rehab or disabled athletes. Boy was I wrong. Two weeks ago I co-hosted an interview with Johnny G on the Indoor Cycle Instructor podcast and heard all about this intriguing piece of equipment and couldn't wait to try it at the Tour de Cove. 

On Johnny's website you can read more about it (including a video you can watch). Still, you have to experience it to really understand the potential applications. It's not just for disabled individuals, but because of this amazing piece of equipment, those without the use of their legs can achieve an amazing cardiovascular workout without being bored to tears like those old UBEs (Upper Body Ergometer). Ten years ago I had bunion surgery on both feet and was in walking casts for 6 weeks. I tried the UBEs and barely lasted 5-10 minutes on them. There was nothing I could really do for cardio and saw my fitness decline rapidly during that period. If only the Krankcycle were around then, I would have been on it almost daily! 

It is actually quite fun and is a great workout to boot. I can picture clubs incorporating Krankcycles into circuit and cross-training classes.  I personally would use it to cross train since I cycle so much.  It's great for an upper body workout, especially for those who don't like lifting weights.  Here is a description from the website of the muscles that are used:

Kranking requires full engagement of arm, shoulder, chest and back muscles. Stabilizers include all musculature in the torso, primarily the abdominals and low back and the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder. In a standing position, the muscles of the lower body also engage for increased balance and stability.

At the Tour de Cove, I spent about 30-minutes on the Krankcycle (and really felt it in my triceps and rhomboids the next day). Below, I am using both arms at the same time, both turning at once.  
The crank arms can be split, so each arm moves more like pedaling a bike. This wasn't as easy as it looks! Because each arm is independent, one side doesn't help the other, so both arms get an equal workout. It takes focus to keep it smooth and consistent, which is part of the attraction. It's not like you can do this and let your mind wander - you must stay focused on what you are doing.

There is a resistance knob to vary the force that you apply. You can also work each arm independently. This photo below is not very flattering (of course, one is always more critical of photos of oneself!), but you can tell I'm working hard with one arm. In doing so, you can really feel the work in the rotational muscles of the trunk.

Any of these movements can be done seated or standing. I enjoyed the standing position more, as I felt more of an involvement with my trunk as well as increased leverage. You can also walk around to the opposite side and perform each movement rotating the crank arms towards your body, offering a different use of the muscles.

I hope you all get the chance to see and use the Krankcycle soon - there's a link on the website at the current locations, and you can expect to see the Krankcycle team at many upcoming conferences around the country. They have a new version launching in March, with a worldwide launch sometime next summer. According to Johnny, the manufacture has products in many countries and is poised to be able to distribute worldwide. Give the link to your club manager to consider it in the next budget period for equipment purchases! 
As Johnny says, the Krankcycle competes with nothing, yet complements everything!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

I'm glad you had a great time, you look happy. :)