Core Strengthening Workouts

Core training is very important to a cyclists.   Lower back, hips and abdominal strength will greatly improve speed , power and comfort on the bike.  You may do these workouts or if you have another routine that is similar feel free to do that.  You may substitute  this session with a yoga class or alternate between this program and yoga.

The below video demonstrates the Core workout listed here, as well as some stretches and how to use a foam roller for self massage.

Here are some exercises I recommend to strengthen the core muscles.  Do these in sequence two or three times a week.  Rest 30 seconds between each exercise.

  1. Stability Ball Crunch – Lie with the middle of your back on a stability ball, your knees bent at 90 degrees and you feet flat on the floor.  Place your hands behind your head, but don’t pull your neck.   Then, squeezing your belly button toward your spine, lift your upper back off the ball.  keeping your shoulders off the ball, twist to the right.  Apply pressure with your lower back to keep the ball still through the entire motion.   Move back down and do another crunch and twist to the left.  The is one crunch.  Do 40-50 reps and work your way to 100+ over time.
  2. Power Bridge – Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your heels near your glutes.  Arms are at your sides, palms down.  In one smooth motion, squeeze your glutes, raise your hips off to form a straight line from shoulders to knees, toes come off the floor slightly.  Hold for two seconds.  keeping your toes raised, lower yourself three-quarters of the way to complete one rep.  Do 20-30 reps.
  3. Hip Extensions – Lying with your hips and stomach on the stability ball, put your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, and extend your legs with toes resting on the floor.  With a straight spine and shoulder blades back, as if you were trying to make them touch, lift both legs off the floor, keeping them straight. if possible raise them slightly higher than parallel to the floor.  Hold for two seconds and lower.  Do 20-30 reps.
  4. Plank –  lying on your stomach, place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms and hands on the floor.  Lift your hips off the floor , keeping your back straight and abs tight, and rest on your toes.  Go for 60 seconds.
  5. Traverse Plank –  Lie on your right side, with your right elbow under your shoulder, forearms in from for stability, and stack your left foot on your right foot.  Raise your left arm over your head.  In one motion, lift your hips to create a straight line down your left side.  Lower your hips a few inches off the flow.  Do 10 to 15 reps then switch sides.    An alternative would be to hold the raised position instead of lowering your hips.  Hold for 30-45 secs, then switch sides.
  6. Scissors Kick – Lying on your back with legs straight, place both hands palms down under your lower back.  Pushing your elbows down in to your floor and pulling your belling button toward your spine, raise your shoulders off the floor and look toward the ceiling.  Raise your legs 4 inches off the ground and scissor them:  left leg over right, then right over left.  This is one rep.  Start with 40 reps, and work up to 100 reps.
  7. Catapult – Sitting with a slight bend in your , press your heels against the floor.  Extend arms to the front at shoulder height, palms facing  each other.  With a straight spine and upward gaze, inhale deeply then exhale and slowly lower your torso to the floor over five counts as your inhale.  Arms are overhead.  In one smooth movement leading with the arm, exhale and explode back to the starting position.  Do 20-30 reps.
  8. Boat Pose – Keeping your legs together, lift them off the floor as you extend your arms forward at shoulder height.  Abs are tight, as thighs and torso form a 90-degree angle.  If your hamstrings are tight, you’ll need to bend your knees a little.  Work up to holding for 60 seconds.

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