Strengthening your core is the single most important movement you can do off the bike for injury prevention. The great news is– you don’t have to do crunches on repeat. Strengthening your core can actually be easy and quick. This core workout for cyclists can be done in just 10 minutes, and can improve both your power and endurance on the bike.
Why Core Strength Is Important For Cyclists
Cycling may seem to be all about the legs, but cyclists also need to have a strong and stable core. These muscles act to stabilize your body and help you control your bike. A strong core allows you to pedal with a smooth and powerful action, and maintain a strong upper body position. A weak core could lead to instability in bike handling, negative compensation patterns, and low back pain.
By incorporating core exercises in your strengthening program you can improve riding efficiency. Additionally, it can help avoid overcompensation by the hip and leg muscles that could eventually lead to injuries. All factors when combined with a proper training regimen, could allow for improvements in overall speed and smoother pedal stroke.
The Ultimate Core Workout for Cyclists
This 10 minute routine can be done before or after a ride, or whenever you have time to spare. You can do each exercise one after the other, with 12 reps of each one. Core exercises are a great thing to work into your stretching routine, so it works great if you can set aside half an hour 3-4 days a week to stretch and do your core exercises.
Reach and Rotate Side Plank
This exercise works the muscles on the side of your abdomen and hips so it is about movement and not a static hold. Starting on your left side, move into a side plank position. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm, tightening your core to stabilize yourself. Place your right foot on top your left, resting on the edges of your feet. Raise your hips until your body is a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Raise your right arm straight out your right side towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds before rolling to centre on both your forearms. Rotate to the right side and repeat the movement, that is one rep.
The Cobra pose is a simple maneuver that can help to stretch your abdominal muscles and strengthen your lower back muscles. Start by laying face down, legs extended and arms pointed down towards your hips. With your palms facing down, bring the arms to a 45 degree angle. Contract the glutes, squeezing your shoulder blades together and lifting your torso up off the ground. Rotate your arms off the ground so your thumbs are pointed up at the ceiling. Your neck should be straight and your feet remaining on the ground. Hold for 5 seconds then return to the starting position, that is one rep.
Basic Glute Bridges
Since the glutes are an accessory muscle to the core it is important to strengthen them as well. Lie on your back, with your hands at your sides, digging your heels into the ground , and squeezing your glute muscles (butt) as you pop up. Raise your right leg up, fully extended, holding for 5 seconds. Come back down and repeat the motion while raising the left leg. That is one rep.
Lie on your back with your arms extended in front of your shoulders. Bend your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abs and press your lower back into the floor. Slowly extend your left arm and right leg out so they are parallel to the floor. Keep your abs tight and don’t let your lower back come off the floor. Return how arm and leg to the starting position and repeat with your right arm and left leg. That is one rep.
Strong legs will only take you so far, but a strong core will bear you to the finish line and beyond. If you do 12 reps of each of these exercises 3-4 days a week, you’ll notice a difference in the saddle and in keeping proper posture on the bike.