Cycling is practically synonymous with legs, but core strength is an equally important and often overlooked part of cycling. Learn about core exercises for cyclists.
The stability of a solid upper body makes you more efficient, more powerful, and more resistant to injury, so we have chosen some of our simple favorite exercises for cyclists to strengthen their cores.
The benefits of a strong core
Your legs are responsible for turning the crank, but the rest of your body plays a more significant role than you may realize. The pelvis and hips anchor you on the saddle, your back hangs your upper body over the handlebars, and your stomach and sides provide stiffness and support. Collectively, these and other upper body muscles are referred to as your core, and they are essential to make you efficient and stable on the bike.
Riders with weak cores waste energy by rocking or swaying. The more your power to move you forward, your core is stronger. For this reason, core strength is essential when stepping out of the saddle or in an airplane position. In addition, a strong core reinforces good shape and prevents damage. Your core helps you stay in control of rough terrain, improve efficiency for better-sustained power, and help you resist fatigue during long trips. If you ride a bike, you can benefit from the core strength.
Core muscles used in cycling
Traditional core definitions are usually limited to the midsection, such as the abdominal muscles, obliques, and lumbar spine. Although these are vital areas, almost everything is somehow involved in effectively cycling and steering a bicycle.
The best core exercises for cyclists are aimed at the functional interaction between several muscle groups. This extended definition includes a wide range of muscles. They have the transverse and rectus abdominis (abdominal muscles), internal and external slopes (your sides), erector spinae (straightening of muscles in the back), pelvic floor (groin and sit bones), gluteus maximus (buttocks), and trapezius (neck and shoulder blades), among others.
Elbow to high plank
Start in an elbow plank position, ensuring your elbows are directly in line with your shoulders. Lift yourself into a standard plank, one arm at a time. Lower back to an elbow plank, and repeat. Focus on engaging your core throughout the movement by pulling the tailbone to keep your upper body flat. Do not dip your lower back, drop your head or raise your buttocks.
Lateral walking push-ups
Lateral walking push-ups are a simple variant of the well-known push-up related to planks and combining functional strength and stability. Follow a push-up with a side step to the side while in plank position, and then repeat.
Another classic core exercise, hollow hold, activates abdominal muscles, hip flexors, and quads, and by adding some weight, they can also engage the shoulders for stability in the upper body. Hollow hold begins on the back, with the feet and the arms over the head. Activate the core by pressing your lower back into the ground, and lift your arms and legs off the floor. Hold this position for several seconds.
Simple-dumbbell overhead squat
Stand approximately shoulder-width apart, with your knees directly above your feet. Hold a dumbbell with your arm stretched just over your shoulder and your elbow locked. Now, keep your heels planted and keep your hips and shoulders level. Squat your hips backward and down below your knees before getting up entirely again. Swap arms and repeat.
Have your right knee bent, lying on your back. Have your right foot on the floor and your left leg fully extended at a 45-degree angle to the side. Hold the kettlebell or weight directly over your head in your right hand, and extend your left arm out to the left side. Now, staring at the importance of holding it directly over you, push off the left arm to raise the upper body until the weight rests on the left hand. Also, lift your hips off the ground simultaneously by pushing through your right foot. There should be a continuous movement into this raised position, and then hold it for a moment before lowering yourself again. Change sides and repeat.