When we think of pro cycling the main parts of the body that really stand out are the legs. But if you are serious about cycling its time to drag your self to the gym and start working that core! A common misconception when we are talking about core strength is that we need these defined six packs and rippled chest muscles. But this is not the case.
What is Core strength?
Core strength starts at your hips and includes your abdominals, around your spine and up to your lower shoulders and neck. Having a strong core is vital to a strong pedal stroke. Not only does it increase your power, but it helps in endurance, injury prevention and allows you to be more comfortable on the bike. Strong, powerful legs will only get you so far, it is the core that will really push you over the finish line first.
Core strength is generally overlooked by cyclists but it should be a part of every serious cyclist’s workout program. Generally neglected for more time on the bike, core strength usually takes a back seat but it is equally as important. Especially for mountain bikers. Having a strong core keeps the body from excessive side to side movement and therefore conserves energy. This side to side motion can cause saddle sores, unequal leg strength, loss of power and speed. This is because the body will start to use other muscles to compensate and this may also result in injury.
Benefits of Core Strength
Core strength also aids in climbing on the bike and navigating uphill switchbacks. The stronger the core the smoother and tighter an athlete is on these more technical sections of the course. The stronger the core the better base the legs have to push from. A weak core means loss of power from the major leg muscles as there is no base to push against.
Forces pushed on one side of the body transfer to the other side. This is why pulling on the bars adds force to your pedal stroke. The same concept applies to legs and core. As one pushes the energy is transferred and a weak core will therefore decrease leg power.
So, what is the best way for a mountain biker to incorporate core strength in workouts. If you are starting off it is best to start with a basic body weight core strength workout. Think planks, wall sit’s, leg raises, back extensions… gradually increase your workouts over the course of a few months to include active movements such as sit ups, weighted abdominal rotations, pushups.
How can PCS Help?
At Progressive Coaching Systems we incorporate core strength into your training program. There are easy to follow videos online that are accessible 24/7 for you to watch and learn the movements. The workouts gradually increase in intensity the further along the athlete is in the training schedule. We have had great feedback from these videos and are always continuing to update our content with evidence based training techniques.
Workouts including core strength should be scheduled into your training program 2-3 times a week and should only take you maximum 1 hour.
Don’t overdo it; just make sure you do it !
If you are ready to take the next step in your training, PCS will work with you to formulate a program that works around your timetable. Schedule in a breakthrough call and we can discuss how I can help you become a faster, stronger and more powerful athlete. Let us take the guess work out of your training and get you the results you really want!
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High Performance Mountain Bike Coach
My speciality is helping serious and recreational mountain bikers break through plateaus to attain higher levels of performance so that they can get fitter, faster, stronger and win more races!