Four core strengthening exercises for improved biking
By Ea Francisco
One of the most essential things for a triathlete is a strong and stable core. Having to do three different sports that have different movements and environments requires a triathlete to have a core that can handle all that. For the biking leg, your core prevents you from doing unnecessary movements as well as increases your pedal power. While normal planks and crunches are usually the go-to core exercises, here are some other variations that can improve your cycling.
Boxer Ball Crunch
To do this, you need a stability ball. First, you lie with the middle of your back on the ball and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with your feet flat on the floor. Similar to doing crunches, place your hands behind your head. Then, squeeze your stomach as you lift your upper back off the ball. Keep your shoulders above the ball and do a clockwise motion with your torso. After 10 motions, switch to counterclockwise.
This mimics the motion of your hips in an uphill climb, so it helps build control to avoid wasted movements in biking.
Start by doing a side plank with your elbow under your shoulder and forearm in front of you. In one motion, lift your hips off the floor and raise your free arm out so that your body forms a straight line. Repeat for 10 times then switch to the other side.
This is a variation of a plank that works your transverse abdominis muscle and obliques for better stability on the saddles. This helps you take on sharp corners with more control and speed.
Your core prevents you from doing unnecessary movements as well as increases your pedal power
First, you have to lie on your back with your arms on the side, palms down. Bring your feet inwards and bend your knees to get into the first position. In one motion, raise your hips and form a straight line from your shoulders all the way to your knees. Hold for a few seconds then lower and repeat for 20 repetitions.
This works your hip flexors, glutes, and lower back, which are often stiff from bending over while biking.
Lie on your back and lift your shoulders off the floor while your hands are behind your head, similar to the crunches position. Next, bend your knees and raise your feet off the ground. For the movement, imagine you’re pedaling a bike. Push your right leg out while your left leg bends more inward. Twist your body so that your right elbow touches your left knee. Alternate your motion and keep repeating for 20 reps.
This exercise primarily targets your abdominal muscles, but it also works your obliques. This variation of crunches is better suited for cyclists and triathletes because it incorporates twisting movements and works more abdominal muscles than normal crunches.
There are many ways to improve your core, but some exercise variations can prove to be more effective to certain sports. Try these exercises to improve your bike and your overall triathlon performance.