Here are the 5 best core exercises for cyclists – and they do NOT include crunches! In fact, crunches are not recommended for cyclists as they can cause an imbalance between the abs and the other core muscles, especially the back muscles. Instead, cyclists need core exercises that precisely target the muscles that will help them cycle faster and stronger, and help them to accelerate and climb hills. Strong core muscles stabilize all of your muscle paths, so that you can efficiently transfer power from your hips and your legs to your pedals. The core muscles are all of the abdominals, PLUS all of the muscles that attach to the spine and the pelvis. These 5 best core exercises will strengthen all of them, helping to make you a better cyclist. Best of all, strong core muscles will improve your balance, reduce your chances of injury and dramatically reduce back pain.
So here they are: the 5 Best Core Exercises for Cyclists
# 1: SWIMMER
Lying face down on a yoga mat or a towel extend your arms forward and legs back, hovering just a few inches above the floor. Raise your right arm and left leg about a foot off the floor and then alternate. Make sure that your moves are slow and smooth, holding your leg and arm straight and steady. You should not be floppy or jerky. Continue for 30 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds, and repeat for a total of 4 repetitions.
Total = 3 minutes
Here is a video that shows you how to do the swimmer exercise:
# 2. BIRD DOG
Start on your hands and knees on the mat, with your back flat. Your head can be looking forward or face down, depending on your comfort. I like face down because it gives my neck and upper traps a nice stretch. Extend your right arm and left leg until they are both parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat by pulling in your belly button towards your spine. Return your arm and leg to the floor and alternate the movements for 90 seconds.
Total = 1.5 minutes
Here’s a great video of how to do a bird dog:
#3. SINGLE LEG TOUCHDOWNS
Stand with your feet hip-wide apart, with your knees slightly bent. Lift your right foot and extend straight back while bending forward at the hips. Stop when your back and leg are parallel to the floor. Reach down and touch the floor with your hands, then push up to standing position. Work one side for 45 seconds and then work other side.
Total = 1.5 minutes
Here’s a video that shows you exactly how to do this exercise:
#4. LATERAL LUNGE
I’m not a fan of lunges but this one is very safe. Stand with your feet comfortably wide apart take a wide sidestep to your right side. Lean forward to touch the floor while bending your right knee and pushing your butt out behind you. Push off the floor with your right foot and hands, returning to a standing position. Alternate left and right legs for 90 seconds.
Total = 1.5 minutes
Who doesn’t love plank? My favorite way to do this exercise is with two little dogs attacking me by jumping on my back and licking my face. Lovely … but, I digress.
- Lying face down on your yoga mat or towel, prop your upper body by holding your hands together below your chin, with your elbows just below your shoulders. Pressing your toes and elbows into the mat, raise your body until it is parallel to the floor. Remember to pull up on your belly button to keep your lower back flat. Hold your pose for 20 seconds and then drop your knees into Child’s Pose for 10 seconds.
- For the second set, hold plank for 25 seconds and then hold Child’s Pose for 10 seconds.
- For the third set, hold plank for 30 seconds and then hold Child’s Pose for 10 seconds.
- For the fourth set, hold plank for 30 seconds and then hold Child’s Pose for 15 seconds.
Total = 2.5 minutes
Here’s a fun video about how to do the plank exercise:
What is Child’s Pose?
From plank position, drop your knees onto the floor and lean back to rest your butt on your heels. Extend your arms and upper body out in front of you as close to the floor as you can get. This will give you a lovely back stretch.
There you have it, the 5 best core exercises that will quickly build your core strength and make you a better cyclist!
Ride safe, ride often!
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