by Amy Schultz, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment
Many cyclists (guilty!) will try anything to get faster - from shaving our legs to using carbon fiber wheels on our bikes. However, many of us may not even be focusing on the main driver of speed: OUR BODIES!
By strengthening our stabilizing muscles, we can become faster, stronger and pain-free cyclists. The core is the foundation for power output. Having a strong core provides a necessary base that will allow our legs to push and pull through each pedal stroke. The core covers much more than having 6-pack abs. It collectively encompasses the hips, lower back and abdominal region. Therefore, more compound and dynamic exercises will target all of the incorporated regions and help us use them together as one whole unit.
Seems pretty important - but how do we strengthen the core specifically for cycling?
Here are a few exercises that will translate to pedaling power.
Single Leg Romanian Dead Lift (RDL) (3 x 10 reps each leg)
Lower your torso forward and downward while raising your back leg. Be sure to keep your back straight, the knee of the supporting leg slightly bent and the hip and knee of the lifted leg extended throughout movement. Once a stretch is felt or hands contact the floor, return to the original position by raising your torso while lowering the lifted leg.
Side Plank with Hip Flexion (3 x 30 sec each side)
Lie on your side with your legs straight and your elbow on the floor directly under your shoulder. Keeping your trunk straight, lift your hips off the floor. Once you feel stable, flex the top hip forward and back in a cycling motion.
Bird Dog (3 x 10 reps each side)
Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Lift one leg and the opposite arm our straight into the air. Be sure to only lift the leg and arm within a range that you can maintain a flat back. Lower your leg and arm back down to the floor and repeat on the other side.
Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!