I am currently searching for some good core exercises, yoga poses and nutritional strategies to help with cycling. My reason for this is to allow my body to both recover more effectively from training as well as to enhance the results of my training. So I am sharing what i am finding to help you too! Here in this post are some key exercises for your core. And check out my posts on yoga for cycling and stretching for cycling some alternate workout ideas as well as wind down routines
Core Strength Matters
- Experts all agree that improving muscular strength by developing the postural muscles will reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance.
- Your core is the foundation for all of your extremities (hence “core”), so if you don’t have strong core muscles, your body doesn’t have the support it needs for hours in the saddle.
- Core muscles include the postural muscles, which includes the muscles of the back, stomach, and hips.
- A solid core will help eliminate unnecessary upper-body movement, so that all the energy you produce is delivered into a smooth pedal stroke.
Sadly, cycling’s tripod position, in which the saddle, pedals, and handlebar support your weight, relies on core strength but doesn’t build it. To develop your high-performance chassis, try this routine three times a week to create a core that lets you ride faster, longer, more powerfully—and finish stronger than ever. These exercises can be performed daily, but begin with every other day to give your muscles recovery time.
The Superman Pose
- Lie face down. Raise one arm off the ground and hold for 20-30 seconds. Release and raise the other arm.
- Then move to your legs; hold one leg at a time off the ground. Then, try holding an alternate leg and arm off the ground at the same time. Then, try both arms up at one time and then both legs at one time.
- The most advanced version is holding both arms and legs off the ground at one time; hence the name Superman Pose.
- Hold each of these poses for 20 to 30 seconds, relax, and repeat. Superman Pose can be held for 20 to 30 seconds initially and then gradually extend the time.
Boxer Ball Crunch
- Lie with the middle of your back on a stability ball, your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, but don’t pull on your neck.
- Squeezing your belly button toward your spine, lift your upper back off the ball.
- Keeping your shoulders off the ball, trace a clockwise oval with your torso. Apply pressure with your lower back to keep the ball still through the entire motion. After 15 clockwise ovals, trace 15 counterclockwise.
Why It Works: Despite the straightforward motion of the bike, your body moves in three directions: forward as you head down the road, vertically as your legs pedal up and down, and laterally as your hips and upper body rock side to side. “This fluid, circular exercise builds control,” says Street, and that helps you minimize lateral torsion and wasted motion.
- Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your heels near your glutes. Arms are at your sides, palms down.
- In one smooth motion, squeeze your glutes, raise your hips off the floor and push up from your heels to form a straight line from shoulders to knees; toes come off the floor slightly. Hold for two seconds. Keeping your toes raised, lower yourself three-quarters of the way to complete one rep. Do 20 repetitions.
Why It Works: In addition to stretching the hip flexors, often extremely stiff in cyclists, the bridge strengthens the link between your lower back and glutes.
- Lying with your hips and stomach on the stability ball, put your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, and extend your legs with toes resting on the floor.
- With a straight spine and shoulder blades back, as if you’re trying to make them touch, lift both legs off the floor, keeping them straight. If possible, raise them slightly higher than parallel to the floor. Hold for two seconds and lower. Do 20 reps.
Why It Works: This movement builds backside strength, for added efficiency on the second half of the pedal stroke.
- Lying on your stomach, place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms and hands on the floor.
- Lift your hips off the floor, keeping your back straight and abs tight, and rest on your toes. Aim for 60 seconds.
Why It Works: The plank builds the strength and muscular endurance you need to ride powerfully in the drops or in an aero position long after others have surrendered to the top of the handlebar.
- Lie on your right side, with your right elbow under your shoulder, forearm in front for stability, and stack your left foot on your right. Raise your left arm over your head.
- In one motion, lift your hips to create a straight line down your left side. Lower your hips a few inches off the floor; do 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.
Why It Works: Strong obliques improve your stability in the saddle, letting you take on hairpin corners with more control and speed.
6. Scissors Kick
- Lying on your back with legs straight, place both hands palms down under your lower back.
- Pushing your elbows down into the floor and pulling your belly button toward your spine, raise your shoulders off the floor and look toward the ceiling. Raise your legs 4 inches off the ground and scissor them: left leg over right, then right over left. That’s one rep. Work up to 100.
Why It Works: A comprehensive movement that connects key cycling muscles, the kick also builds inner-thigh muscles, which help you achieve hip, knee and forefoot alignment for a proper and efficient pedal stroke.
- Sit, resting both hands lightly behind you, and lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle.
- Keeping your legs together, lift them off the floor as you extend arms forward at shoulder height. Abs are tight, as thighs and torso form a 90-degree angle. If your hamstrings are tight, you’ll need to bend your knees a little. Work up to holding for 60 seconds.
Why It Works: As with the plank, this pose builds the lower-back stability and core strength needed to remain bent over the handlebar for hours, or to blast up hills without compromising power or speed.
Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
What It Works: hamstrings and boosting stability in your abs, glutes, and hips
- Lie on a floor on your back with your legs extended and heels on top a stability ball.
- Contract your abs, back, and glutes and press into your heels, lifting your hips off the floor so your body forms a straight line from your heels to your shoulders.
- Bend your knees and use your heels to roll the ball toward your butt, so your feet are flat on the ball.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps with 30 seconds rest in between.
- Make the move harder by performing it one leg at a time.
Why It Works: Powerful pedaling demands that all your lower body muscles pull their weight and in particular the pedal-pulling hamstrings on the back of your thighs.