October 11, 2015
By Guillermo Gutierrez
You don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room to figure out that your legs are responsible for producing power and force in cycling—but did you know that the foundation of the power source is the muscles in your core, abs, lower back and hips? Yep, it’s the truth. It’s from this area of the body that all movement originates, including the leg motions that drive your pedal strokes. That’s why having a strong core is essential for cycling, whether your goal is to ride longer, faster or at a higher resistance. Core strength also helps improve your posture when you’re riding in a seated position and stabilize your body during standing climbs.
By contrast, if your core muscles are weak, you will probably rely on your arms to support your upper body as you ride, which reduces efficiency, increases fatigue, and sets you up for pain in the upper arms, shoulders, and neck.
Here are essential core-strengthening exercises to add to your routine, three times a week, to improve your power, stability, posture, and cadence efficiency on the bike:
1. The Bridge
Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent (they should be directly above your ankles) and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms next to the sides of your body (palms facing the floor). Slowly lift your hips up so that your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees; pause at the top then lower your hips to the floor. Repeat 4 times.
2. The Plank
Start face down on the floor, then raise yourself up onto your forearms and your toes (with the middle of your forearms right under your shoulders). Keep your hips raised and your back flat so your body resembles a plank that’s parallel to the floor. Hold the plank for 30 to 60 seconds. Take a break then repeat 4 times.
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