Core development & stretching

The legend of Yoga that is Lexie Williamson asked today’s coaches corner question. What core exercises should cyclist do to improve their core & what stretches.

Cycling can over time put stress on our lower backs due to the lack of strength and or fatigue towards the end of a long ride. Sitting in the saddle up hills also strains the lumber region as we look to use out legs to cycle up the hill. As a result the hamstrings pull on the pelvis and over time this gets tired. Having a strong core will reduce the aches and pains we get and help improve efficiency in the bike.

Doing a number of simple core exercises 2-3x a week will help improve your core. Here are my top five.

Front plank: keep your back straight and clench your gluts to engage those muscle. You can make this hard by lift a leg off the floor by 6′ for 15sec a piece. Side planks are also a great way to increase the strength of the oblique abdominals (side muscles)

Back arch: lay on your back, then raise your hips by bending your knees so your feet are flat on the floor shoulder width apart. Don’t allow the hips to drop. Clench your gluts to engage the hamstrings & gluts. To make this harder, lift one leg off the floor and point your leg and toes straight for 15sec before changing over.

Russian twists: find a Swiss ball of the correct size. Sit on the ball then slide down of the ball so it’s in the centre of your back. Feet flat shoulder width apart, hips up. Now point your hands towards the ceiling and clasp them. Now twist 90degrees to the left but look to keep your legs & core stable and strong. Hold for 5sec then twist to the opposite side. To make this hard, hold a 5kg weight

Single leg squats: look to keep your knee in line with your foot. If you knee drifts in, then you need to address the strength legs. Make it harder by performing the exercise on a 1/2 Bocce ball

Lunges: onto an up turned 1/2 bocce ball. Lung onto the bocce ball. As your foot hits the bocce ball you will waddle. Look to keep central and avoid your leg / upper body moving off centre. As you do this. Bring your arms together over the top of your help to keep in a linear line.
NB: search YouTube for videos

Always stretch, stretch, stretch. The greater the range of movement expressed at a joint then you will reduce the risk of injury as a result of tight muscles restricting moving due to fatigue and lack of stretching. Attending yoga 1-2x a week will help and highlight the lack of flexibility we may have.

Foam roller:
Buy one & use it. If you can’t get a regular massage to help with muscle tension, this is the next best thing. Take care of your hamstrings, IT band, lower back and quads.