We’re always being told to work on our core. A strong set of conditioned muscles will help improve stability and posture on the bike, reduce the risk of injury and provide a platform for our legs to fire from. But it seems that some of the exercises we’re doing, maybe wrong.
“With your core, there are so many exercises that most people can do to a really good level, but they’re kind of cheating, although not consciously,” says Denise Kesson, co-founder of Your Physio Plan.
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“If your brain really wants to do something your body will offer a way, it just might not be the ideal way. So when people say that they’re doing all these exercises such as the plank and squats, yet are still getting injured, they’re left scratching their heads as to why.
“This is because a lot of cyclists tend to focus on big muscles such as their rectus abdominus (abdominals), which cross certain joints but don’t directly control how they move.
“But you have much more deeper postural muscles that you can’t see, which play an important role when cycling and they need to be worked on, but are often ignored. Your abdominals are powerful muscles, but when you ride your bike, they aren’t used as often as your deeper postural muscles. These need to be strong and efficient.”
“A lot of core work is focused on static exercises but very little of what we do, especially on the bike is static,” says Denise.
“It’s all well and good being able to hold a plank for two minutes, but it’s not functional. The moment you start doing something more dynamic, such as standing out of the saddle, is when vulnerability can occur.
“With exercises such as the plank, you’re just training the muscles at one length, but it needs to lengthen and shorten and be consistently strong throughout.
“There’s not really much point doing those exercises because all you are doing is keeping yourself strong in an inferior way. And this is why so many cyclists become frustrated, as they are putting the hours in, but not getting the results. The outcome is not changing.”
So what exercises should we be doing? Watch the video above as we run through five of the best dynamic exercises that every cyclist should incorporate into their training.