5 Ab Exercises That Will Improve Your Ride
Why do ab exercises for cycling? Well, in cycling, developing your core is just as important as developing your leg muscles. Your abs are essentially at the core of every movement, including pedalling. If you have strong core muscles, your balance will improve and your chances of injury and back pain will reduce. One of the main benefits of a strong core is that you will have more stability and a stronger base for your legs to push from therefore generating more power.
Add these five ab exercises to your workout routine to improve your strength, stability, and flexibility on the bike.
1 of 5 Ab Exercises – Plank
The plank helps build strength and muscle endurance needed to ride powerfully in an aero position. Start lying face down on the floor. Place your forearms on the mat with elbows aligned below the shoulders. Then lift your hips off the mat, keeping your back straight and abs tight. Engage your glutes and legs to prevent your hips from lifting or dipping so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for as long as you can without your form deteriorating.
2 of 5 Ab Exercises – Scissor kicks
This workout connects key cycling muscles. It also helps builds inner-thigh muscles that help you achieve hip, knee and forefoot alignment for a proper and efficient pedal stroke. Begin by lying down with your back pressed against the floor or a mat. Extend your arms to the side with your palms facing down. Engage your core as you lift your shoulders off the mat and look towards your knees. Lift legs about 4 to 6 inches off the floor and do a scissor motion: right leg over left and left leg over right. Repeat as recommended. Make sure your back doesn’t arch off the mat, if it is too hard with the legs lower then take the legs up higher, this will alleviate back pain.
3 of 5 Ab Exercises – Boat pose
Just like planking, this pose helps to develop core strength and lower-back stability which is helpful in cycling as we can be bent over the handlebar for hours. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs together and hands beside your hips. Keep your spine straight and lean back until your torso is at 45-degree angle. Keeping your legs together, lift them up from the floor as you extend your arms forward in line with your shoulders. Remember to keep your spine straight. You can bend your knees a little if your hamstrings are tight. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
4 of 5 Ab Exercises – Floor bridge
This is a great exercise to activate the glutes and to stretch the hip flexors, which are often tight in cyclists. Start with lying on your back with knees bent and feet should-width apart. Place your arms by your side with your palms down. Lift your pelvis, squeeze your glutes and push into your heels to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold this position for a few seconds and slowly lower your pelvis down until it’s just a few inches from the floor. Do about 20 repetitions.
5 of 5 Ab Exercises – Russian twist
This workout targets the oblique muscles which are often overlooked. It helps build strength and stability in the core muscles due to it’s rotational movement. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lean back until your core is engaged and tighten, or at a 45-degree angle. Then start twisting your torso to one side then return to the centre before repeating on the other side. To make this more challenging, grab a medicine ball or a dumbbell and start twisting. Even more of a challenge is to lift your legs off the floor! Do this for about 15-20 reps on each side.
If you want more thorough ab exercises to strengthen your core as well as your legs and shoulder stabilisers then give BIKE BLITZ 4 week online training program a go. It’s easy to follow and helps eliminate back pain, fatigue and improves strength and stamina. The strengthening program can be performed with minimal equipment at home or you can do the gym version of the program. For more info visit www.bikeblitz.com.au