Cycling may be all about your legs, but it’s important not to forget your core. When you are sitting on the saddle for an hour, or two or six, your body needs to stay as stabilized as possible so you can give as much energy to your pedals as possible.
A strong core can also help with back pain. If you have weaker muscles on the front, you’ll often notice your back getting sore quicker than it should.
Here are five core exercises that every cyclist should put in their repertoire. You don’t need to do these every day–in fact, if you’re doing them right, you shouldn’t be able to. But 2-3 times a week will result in a stronger, more stable core.
The plank is one of the best exercises for the core. It’s something you can build up to, and will definitely help you generate additional power and stability while on the bike.
Start in a push-up position.
Put both your elbows on the floor with your forearms parallel.
As you keep your body flat, you should engage your core. Don’t arch your back.
If this is your first time doing a plank, start with 30-60 seconds, then gradually build up to a minute or two, and repeat.
You might remember these from gym glass, but they are a great little workout for a cyclist, especially in the off-season.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Next, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you, and be in a push-up position.
Jump your feet in towards your hands.
Jump into the air and straighten your arms all the way overhead.
Do a series of those and you’ll feel it.
3. Lateral walking push-ups
This takes your regular push-up and increases the difficulty.
Start with a push-up then take a lateral step to the side while in plank position.
You can mix it up by moving in one direction repeatedly, or move back and forth between each one.
4. Russian twists
Although this sounds like the name of a great cocktail, it certainly is not.
Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent.
Gradually lean back and you will begin to engage.
Next, twist your torso to one side and return to the centre, then repeat on the other side.
Try to do 10-15 reps for each set.
5. Hollow Holds
Hollow holds are a great exercise as they not only activate the abs and hip flexors but your quadriceps too.
Begin on your back, with your feet together and arms overhead.
Activate your core by simply your lower back down into the ground.
Raise your arms and legs off the floor. Now, try and hold this position for several seconds.