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11-12-2023 | Ella van der Veer | 2 Comments

Six core exercises for cyclists

Building strong leg muscles is crucial for cyclists, but a robust core is equally essential. The transfer of leg muscle power to the pedals is optimized only when supported by strong core muscles. In our earlier discussion in Part 1, we elaborated on the benefits of incorporating strength training. Today, I'll guide you through six effective home exercises.

The core encompasses muscles in the abdomen, glutes, back, and hips. A well-trained core ensures stability on the bike, preventing unwanted bouncing on the saddle during high-cadence pedaling. Whether climbing at a lower cadence or navigating technical passages, a strong core minimizes the risk of lower back discomfort. For mountain bikers, the dynamic nature of their rides demands a resilient core, as they frequently shift their entire body to negotiate turns and technical sections. Alongside essential exercises suitable for all cyclists, we've included two dynamic options, particularly beneficial for MTB enthusiasts or those seeking an extra challenge.

To maximize effectiveness, incorporate a brief core workout (5-10 min) into your training routine three times a week. These exercises need not be overly complex. They ensure a comprehensive workout for all core muscles, not just the abs! Below, you'll find a set of exercises that achieve this balance. Start with 30 seconds per exercise, gradually increasing by 5 seconds weekly until reaching 60 seconds. Take a 5-second rest between each exercise. All you need is a mat. Best of luck with your workout!

1. Mountain climber

Attain a plank position with arms extended, the rest of your body extended. Now alternately bring your left knee to your right elbow and visaversa. You can perform this exercise as fast as possible, or slow where you focus extra on tightening the muscles and hold the leg in the raised position for a while. Alternate is to feel what the effect is.

2. Dead bug

Lay on the floor with your back, pull your knees up to 90 degrees and extend both arms vertically. Your neck and lower back push toward the floor. Then slowly extend your left leg to just above the ground, and at the same time lower your right leg until it hangs stretched above the ground. Bring arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat with the other side.

3. Bicycle crunch

Lay on your back and raise your head and shoulders a few inches above the ground. Lift your legs up with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Now make a cycling motion, that is, you pull up one knee and extend the other. To make it a little harder, you can try hitting the raised knee with the opposite elbow.

4. Bridge up/down

Lay down on your back and place your feet under your knees so that your lower legs are vertical. Now tighten your glutes and abs and push your hips up until they are extended. Hold at the top for a moment and slowly sink to just above the ground. If this is too easy, do this exercise with one leg extended alternately.

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Static plank variations

5. Plank

Lay on your stomach and place your elbows under your shoulders, forearms extending forward in line with your body. Place your toes under your heels and push yourself up. Make sure your body is straight again and actively tighten the glutes to keep the hips aligned. Stay in this position until time runs out.

6. Side plank

Lay on your side and place your forearm on the floor. The elbow is under the shoulder with the upper arm vertically down. Now push your waist up until the legs and upper body are straight. Be sure to actively tighten the glutes and push your hips forward so you can maintain the straight posture. Do this exercise twice so you have done both sides.

Dynamic plank variations

5a. Plank with arm and leg lift

Same as a regular plank, only we extend left arm and right leg. We hold this for five seconds then switch to right arm and left leg. Be sure to keep the hips as stable as possible and not move too much up or sideways during the switch.

6a. Side plank with rotation

Same as the regular side plank. To make it a little easier, you can put your top foot in front of the bottom one. Place your hand on your neck and extend your elbow toward the ceiling. Now turn the upper body so that the upper elbow touches the lower one. While doing this, maintain the tight posture as much as possible. Rotate back and repeat. Take your time, quality is more important than quantity with this exercise.

Comments (2)

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Marcel van Herten 

  15 Dec, 2023     7 months ago     Reply

top! Benieuwd naar deel 3 en 4

Luc Nouwen 

  13 Dec, 2023     7 months ago     Reply


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