Good Core and Posture Essential for Effective Cycling
To progress in cycling you need to have a strong core. Everything hinges around this. A good core ensures that you avoid long and short term injuries, and become a better climber, ride distance rides easier, and improve your sprinting.
The core is so important that Sir Bradley Wiggins used to do an hour of Pilates a day to improve his core strength. Professional cyclists carry out core strengthening exercises as part of their training routinely.
What is my Core?
Core muscles are your abdominal muscles, hip muscles, muscles that run the length of your spine, shoulder muscles, and neck muscles. Many cyclists just concentrate on their abs doing “hundreds of crunches” yet seeing no real difference to their core strength. This is because they are neglecting the other muscles that comprise their core.
Why is the Core Important?
Your core ensures that you cycle in the correct position, maintaining the proper posture with every mile ridden. The classic tripod road cycling position relies on a good core and posture, but does not build the muscles needed to maintain it.
If your core is good you will be able to avoid:
- Osteoporosis – The National Health Service (NHS) define it as “A condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break”. With a good cycling core and posture underpinning your cycling, you will avoid putting pressure on your arms and back. This helps avoid this condition.
- Lower back pain – Without the core strength to support your upper body weight and relieve pressure from your back and arms, you will forever be suffering with lower back pain and pain in your arms.
With a good core you will be able to support your weight through your core. Rather than resting on the handle bars which causes all kinds of issues when cycling. When your core is strong you will find your rocking in the saddle will reduce and you will gain energy levels as a result. Rocking saps your energy.
How do I Build my Core for Cycling?
At SportActive we teach Pilates techniques to build core strength. Pilates is similar to Yoga. The exercises shown ensure that you will be able to build your core ensuring that all the muscle groups that comprise it are strengthened.
Exercises to Build a Strong Core for better Cycling
Lay on the floor with your feet shoulder width apart.
Bring your knees up from the floor keeping your feet on the ground.
Then raise your hips slowly from the ground until your hips, feet, and shoulders are in alignment.
You should find you are in a similar position to the picture shown.
Do this 8 to 12 times per set. When you feel confident extend a leg so that it is straight when you do this exercise.
To do the plank effectively follow these steps:
Form a plank position ensuring your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders
Never let your back arch and suck in your stomach
Ensure your shoulder and lower back are in line with one another
Ensure you are up on your toes Initially do 3 sets of 30 seconds.
As you feel stronger add 10 seconds per set
For this exercise you will need a stability ball or workbench that allows you to lift your legs off the floor while face down.
To begin lay on the ball with your hands beneath your shoulders.
Extend your legs so your toes are touching the floor.
Keeping your back straight bring your shoulder blades back as far as you can.
While in this position lift both legs off the ground and if possible slightly higher than parallel to the floor.
Hold for two seconds in this position and lower.
Do 20 reps per set.
Improving your Cycling
The best way to improve your cycling is to join us on our cycling training camps in Mallorca, the spiritual home of cycling. You will improve your climbing, sprinting, gear use, braking, and peloton riding. Click here to discover our Mallorca Cycling Training Camps now.