Activate your core for stronger ride

 

Once you are able to activate your core (see part 1 here), try incorporating three or four of these key exercises into your training regime 2-3 times a week, choosing different combinations each time. Remember that core strength is vital for all cyclists and will help maintain a good riding position and prevent the onset of back pain whilst riding.

 

This programme is based around the plank exercise and doesn't require any specialist equipment. It is vital that you focus on keeping your core activated during each exercise to support your lower back. If you feel any pain or discomfort during the exercises stop and check your technique, if the problem persists seek advice from a qualified trainer or core specialist.

 

 

Plank

 

Start by lying on the floor resting on your forearms. Push yourself up onto your forearms and toes. Aim to have a straight line from your ankles through your knees to your hips and shoulders. Do not allow your back to arch or your buttocks raise up. Hold this position for 10 seconds then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

 

plank

 

 

Plank with leg raise

 

Start by lying on the floor resting on your forearms. Push yourself up so that you’re resting on your forearms and toes as before. Aim to have a straight line from your ankles through your knees and hips to your shoulders. Hold this position and raise one foot off the floor, do not allow your hips to rotate or lower back to dip. Repeat alternating legs 3 to 5 times per set.

 

plank with leg raise

 

 

Side plank

 

Start by lying on your side resting on your forearm. Push yourself up so that you are resting on your forearm and the side of your foot (feet are stacked). Don’t allow your hips to drop towards the floor. In this position reach under your hip with your non weight bearing arm and then straighten it towards the ceiling. Repeat this movement 3 to 5 times before lowering your hips back down. Repeat on each side.

 

Core fitness Side Plank

 

 

Rocking Plank

 

Start by lying on the floor, face down, with your hands under your shoulders.  Push yourself up onto your hands and toes, while keeping your body in a straight line. Slowly rock your whole body forward and back pivoting on your toes and hands. Rock forward and back 8 to 10 times.

 

Rocking forwards

Core fitness plank rocking forwards

 

and backwards

Core fitness plank rocking backwards

 

 

Walking Plank (5a,5b)

 

Start by lying on the floor, face down, with your hands under your shoulders.  Push yourself up onto your hands and toes. Walk sideways by taking steps with your arms and legs whilst maintaining your form (keeping your core activated and your body in a straight line) in the plank position. Try to keep your hips and back as stable as possible, imagine there is a large bowl of water on your back and you are try not to spill a drop!  Repeat with 5 ‘steps’ in each direction.

 

Start position

Core fitness plank walking 1

 

Step your left legm out

Step your left leg out

 

Then your left arm

Step your left arm outRepeat

 

Repeat this with your right arm and right leg to complete one whole step.  Repeat whol process five times and then step back the other way - leading with your right leg - to your original position

 

 

 

Got access to a Gymball? 

 

Another option is to use a gymball during your session. Below are a few exercises that use a gymball.

 

 

Plank on Gymball

 

In a kneeling position place your forearms on the gymball. Lift yourself up onto your toes with your forearms on the ball and elbows in line with your shoulders. Hold this position for 8-10 seconds prior to slowly lowering yourself back down to your knees.

 

 

 

Once you can do this position try these progressions

  • Holding your body still, move your arms forward and back (making the ball roll slightly) (6a,6b)
  • Holding your body still, move your arms from side to side (making the ball roll slightly) (6c,6d)
  • Holding your body still lift one foot off the floor and then the other (6e)

 

 

Straight arm plank on the gym ball

 

Place your hands on the gymball in line with your shoulders. Lift yourself onto your hands and toes keeping your body in line. Hold this position for 8-10 seconds.

 

Straight arm plank on ball

Cat not essential!

 

Progress by asking a partner to (very) lightly push the ball at different angles. Try to counteract the movements and maintain your position. Continue for 20-30seconds at a time.

 

 


 

 

This article has been written for Bike Envy by Cassie Gledhill , who is a competitive cyclist specialising in treating athletes and non-athletes with musculoskeletal pain and injury, postural dysfunction and post/pre-operative rehabilitation.

 

She has a degree in Sports Rehabilitation and has specialised in injury prevention techniques. In particular, she identifies weaknesses in posture and lifestyle, and then seeks to improve these via a combination of corrective exercise training, manual therapy techniques and functional education. Her clients range from desk-bound office workers, through to elite athletes, from children through to older adults.

 

She has supported professional basketball teams and international hockey players, as well as working with athletes at the London Marathon, endurance motorcycle championships and a number of football and rugby teams.

 

 

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