How to Train the Most Important Core Muscles for Cycling
Core strength and stability play a key role in cycling. The muscles located in the abdominal region keep your body stable on the saddle and produce the force to pedal. This is where all movement begins.
A strong core will improve your posture as well as your physical performance and breathing. In the long run, you’ll get better at your favorite sport and gain a competitive edge. Plus, your risk of injury will dramatically increase.
Core work should be an integral part of your fitness routine. This will ensure a safe riding experience while improving your athletic skills. Here are some of the best core exercises for cyclists of all ages and fitness levels:
Some say that planks are the key to achieving that sought-after six pack. While this claim may be overstated, one thing is for sure: planks help develop core strength and enhance your balance.
This exercise hits the deep inner core muscles and tightens your midsection. When doing planks, your whole body works hard to maintain its balance and stability. Over time, you’ll experience less back pain, decrease your injury risk, and become more flexible.
The side plank targets your obliques, which further contributes to a strong core. This bodyweight movement also strengthens your lower back, glutes, quads, arms, and shoulders. As you probably know, these muscles play a crucial role in cycling performance.
There are dozens of other plank variations you can try. It all comes down to your goals and fitness level. Rocking planks, reverse planks, BOSU topside planks, and side plank crunches are just a few examples.
Ask a personal trainer about the best plank variations for cycling. He will assess your physical condition and recommend a workout that best suits your needs.
Swiss Ball Mountain Climber
Another great exercise for bikers is the Swiss ball mountain climber. Despite its apparent simplicity, it’s quite challenging. Since you’re using an unstable surface, your core muscles work harder to keep you in balance.
This full body movement increases core strength while engaging your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders. To make it more challenging, use suspension traps instead of a stability ball.
Your core workout can also include BOSU squats, bent-over rear flyes, stability ball diagonal wood chops, and deadlifts. Some of these exercises don’t directly target the core, but they help strengthen those muscles and improve your conditioning.