Core strength for cyclists …

I used to be a runner. I ran a lot. Most days. One day, after years of training, I felt my power originating from my core, not my legs or arms. My body, my arms and legs moved in unison with each and every stride.

I used to be a golfer. A good one. At one point, when I hit balls most days, I played to a 5 handicap. One day, after playing for years, I realized my power came from my core not my legs, arms or forearms. My entire body moved in unison as I took the club away, rotating fully into the backswing and then down, delivering the club back precisely to the ball.

Today, I cycle. I cycle a lot. In recent years, I realize my power on the bike originates from my core. My legs, upper body and arms working in unison to deliver maximum power and speed to the pedals.

There is a lot of discussion on how to train for cycling – weight training mostly to develop power in the legs. Unfortunately, there is little discussion about the necessity to develop the core muscles; the muscles that stabilize the body so it can deliver maximum power and speed to the pedals; the muscles that enable the rider to maintain an optimum position for long periods of time; and, the muscles that minimize back pain, even on long rides.

If you want to cycle faster for longer distances, strengthen your core. One of the best methods I have discovered is Pilates, a serious of mat exercises that stretch and strengthen the core at the same time. The core connects the upper and lower body enabling all body parts to move as one and, enabling the athlete to create maximum power.

I have been remiss. I used to practice Pilates regularly. Unfortunately, I spend more time in the gym and much less time on the Pilates mat. That is about to change. This winter, when I am on the bike less, I plan to take a weekly mat class and, regularly complete a mat routine on my own.

Do you train your core for cycling?

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8 thoughts on “Core strength for cyclists …

  1. I Kitesurf and do Stand Up Paddleboarding when i can – these are amazing for core strength. As is MTB to a lesser extent esp terrain where you are all over the bike. I have done yoga in the past but i think Pilates might be the way forward – will speak to my gym and give it a whirl.

  2. “… Do you train your core for cycling?” Each and every day! I’ll save you from hearing my woefully self-serving injury talk/babble … Needless to say after having gone through a knee replacement at the ripe age of 36 – You would be safe thinking strengthening your knee and legs would help the most, I certainly did. It took my therapist, pilates instructor and some self-reflection to finally figure out that most of our power, stability, control and strength is developed in our torso. If you are interested, I have like a million different plank/core/stability variations you can try. Take care and be well!

    • You are young for a hip replacement. It was an injury that led me to Pilates – a damaged knee and an arthritic hip. I find it helps a lot and get mad at myself when I stop regular practice.

  3. I practice calithenics, which is primarily body weight training. Big compound movements that push a lot of the body’s muscles into working well together. Push-ups, squats, bridges, hand-stand push-ups, leg raises and pull-ups just about cover all bases, with a little added work from tricep dips. Certainly worth looking into, I know I’m stronger because of it and I can work out just about anywhere with no additional equipment.

    Except the bike, need that to get around.

    • That’s what I like about Pilates. I can do it anywhere, anytime I please – outside in the parks during the summer months and on the floor in my den when it is colder and wet.

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