Bicycling utilizes more than just the leg and gluteal muscles. Being a strong cyclist means engaging your core muscles, particularly your abs. The abdominal muscles are responsible for stabilizing you while you ride and providing you with a strong platform to push from. They also play a large part in helping you maintain your balance.
Your abdominal muscles contract to provide stability and the constant contractions help tone your abdominal muscles as well as increase strength and endurance.
Exercises such as crunches are great for building up your abs. Even better are poses such as the plank, which force you to hold a contraction for an extended period of time. Perhaps best of all, in terms of convenience and relevance, are the exercises you can do to strengthen your abdominals while you ride. Whenever you find yourself on a long, straight stretch of road, you can make the most of your workout by doing a quick ab routine.
How To Develop Your Abs During a Ride
The simplest exercise you can do on your bike is a sustained contraction of your muscles. Take a deep breath and focus on tightening your abs. Hold the contraction for a period of 10 to 15 seconds, then release. This exercise can be repeated a few times and can be done at any point during a ride that doesn’t require your full attention.
When you’re standing, your muscles have to work harder to support you and keep you upright. Lift up off your seat from time to time and lean over the handle bars so that your stomach is almost parallel to the ground. Hold this position while continuing to pedal.
Contract your ab muscles while bringing one elbow in toward you. Keep your hands on the handlebars and don’t stop pedaling. Continue alternating sides until you’re tired, or until you have to return your full attention to your ride.
Repeating Lift Off
While continuing to pedal, lift yourself off the saddle. Come back down, touch the saddle lightly, and then come back up. Continue this up and down movement while keeping your abs contracted. This is a tough one, but it’s a great workout for your abs and core.
You don’t have to do these ab exercises every time you go out on a ride, and you certainly don’t have to incorporate all of them. Taking the time to focus on your abs, however, is a great way to strengthen your core. A stronger core will provide you with better support and stability, increasing your efficiency and making a noticeable difference in your overall performance.