Cyclists seem to be on a never-ending search for increasing their power to weight ratio, and use various techniques to attain this. Some go with lighter bikes, some use specific on bike training, while others shed body weight or add an aero kit. The mistake that many cyclists make is believing that all their power comes via their legs, as there are other elements that are critical to adding more power. Having legs like tree trunks is great, but if you aren’t fit, they serve no real purpose. You can get that extra power, but you need to think beyond your bike and those legs. You can get a nice little power boost by focusing on other areas of the body, and without having to put in extra hours in the saddle.
If you have ever seen cyclists rock from side to side while climbing a hill, or rock in the saddle when powering down on flat roads, then you have seen a cyclist with a weak core. Having a strong core is an essential part of building power, and it will also help prevent common injuries to your hips and back. Working on and strengthening your core will mean that you will be able to get more power on your bike, and that you will be able to sustain said power for longer periods.
Let’s look at some exercises that can help strengthen your core and improve your cycling.
Standard squats are great, but you can reap even more benefits by doing squats that require concentration and balance. One leg squats perfectly check both those boxes, whilst also helping with coordination. These particular squats not only work your core, they also do a good job of simulating the motion of getting on the bike or riding a trail where a sudden burst of power is required.
If you want to be a better cyclist, running should be part of your training routine. The most obvious benefit of running is to allow your heat rate to remain high for a long period of time without any breaks. On a bike your heart rate will rise and fall with the terrain, a solid 45-60 minute run will have your heart rate constantly high. Do this regularily and you’ll train your body into being able to sustain hard efforts longer on your bike.
Going swimming regularily can be extremely beneficial for all cyclists. Swimming engages a huge number of muscle groups all over the body, resulting in fantastic core strength. Cyclists need a strong core to be able to lay down
Balance board – Yoga
If you want to work your core and have some fun in the process, this is the way to go. You can easily build strength and suppleness by performing the following basic exercise on a balance board:
One leg balancing – A very basic exercise, but one that becomes tougher when you include it as part of a training circuit. Staying balanced on one leg when you are tired requires a lot of effort on the part of your core.
Simple squats – Performing reps of 5 or 10 may initially feel easy, but your body will tell you otherwise the next morning. These squats become even tougher when you add a balance board into the mix.
One leg knee raises – Maintaining balance after pulling your knee up to your chest and out to the side is incredibly challenging.
Tree pose – The tree pose requires you to hold you arms in a place and position that may not feel natural. Adding this move to a one leg balance exercise can help work your core in a big way.
Lord of the dance pose – This is certainly not a move that you will want to try right off the bat. Become proficient in the previously mentioned moves before advancing to this one, as you will be more flexible by that point.
Left and Right bend – This pose, which is relatively simple, is performed by sliding your hand down to the side of your knee. While straightforward, the shifting of your weight can be difficult, especially when you alternate from left to right. The more reps you do, the harder it is to maintain balance.
Extended head to toe pose – This is a pose that can be difficult to master, so consider slowly working it into your routine. You need to extend your leg to the front or side, and then reach your hand out towards your toes, after which you hold the pose for as lng as possible.