Keen amateur cyclists as well as elite athletes require good core strength which enable the legs to generate maximum power without the back fatiguing, particularly during long rides and power sprints. In this article, Osteopath Adrian Dilworth talks us through some core exercise for cyclists.Cyclists often complain of low back and neck pain which can be attributed to poor core strength and stability. Many hours in the saddle can be demanding not only on the muscles of the legs but the muscles supporting the torso. If the core is poor then the overall performance of the cyclist will be affected regardless of cardiovascular fitness and/or leg strength.

8 CORE EXERCISES FOR CYCLISTS

Below you will find 8 top core exercises for cyclists, with recommendations for the number of repetitions you should perform. Click on the links provided for video demonstrations.

Swiss Ball Superman Two Legs

Lie on your front on a Swiss ball, and keeping your legs straight lift them up behind you. This exercise helps to arch your lower back (to create what is known as a lumbar hyperlordosis) while strengthening the lower back and gluteal muscles and improving core control.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days
  • Repeat 2 x 10 times.
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Perform on both sides

Video: Swiss Ball Superman Two Legs

Swiss Ball Rotations

Lie on your back, with your feet and calves on the ball, and rotate your spine (drop your knees to each side, moving the ball). Make sure you control the movement from the core muscles, so do not go too fast.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days.
  • Repeat 2 x 10 times
  • Hold for 2 seconds
  • Perform on both sides

Video: Swiss Ball Rotations

Full Plank On Elbows

Lie on your front resting on your elbows, with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Lengthen the back of your neck and glide your shoulder blades downwards. Lift your chest bone and waist away from the mat engaging your lower abdominal muscles, tucking your toes under. Inhale to prepare, and exhale to lift the front of your hips away from the floor to create a straight line from your head and neck to your pelvis. Push down into your feet to straighten your legs moving your body forwards. Tilt your pelvis back to avoid arching your lower back. Inhale to hold and exhale to lower to the start position.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.

Video: Full Plank On Elbows

Supine Bridge Basic

Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent, squeeze your bottom muscles and lift your body upwards. Keep your arms by your side and use them to help you balance. Make sure you maintain good posture (do not over-arch your lower back) and contract the deep abdominal muscles by squeezing your tummy towards your spine. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal, lower back, gluteal and hamstring muscles.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate times daily.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.

Video: Supine Bridge Basic 

Side Plank

Lie on your side, and form a bridge between your feet and forearms (by lifting your pelvis). This exercise works the abdominal and Oblique muscles.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.

Video: Side Plank

Knee Folds / Scissors 2/3

Adopt the supine start position. For Level 2: exhale and float both legs into a table top position, one at a time. Inhale to hold, exhale and lower one leg to tap the toe on the floor, and inhale as your leg is lifted back to the table top position. Alternate your legs, and make sure you avoid your back arching. Keep your lower abdominals engaged throughout. For level 3: exhale and float one leg into table top position. Inhale to hold, exhale and tap that toe to the mat, while simultaneously lifting your opposite leg into table top. Inhale to hold then repeat alternating the legs.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Perform on both sides.

Video: Knee Folds / Scissors 2/3

Boxer’s Sit-Up

Lift one leg off the floor a few inches, and the other off the floor with your knee bent as shown in the picture. Perform a crunch by touching your hand to your foot. This is a tough sit-up! But you can make it easier by moving your foot closer to you, or away from you to make the exercise harder. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles and Oblique muscles.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days.
  • Repeat 2 x 10 times.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.

Video: Boxer’s Sit-Up

Sit-Up Crunch

Lie on your back with your knees bent, and perform a crunch by contracting your abdominal muscles and lifting your shoulder blades just off the floor. You can perform the exercise with your hands placed beside your head, or across your chest if you prefer. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles.

Instructions
  • Perform alternate days.
  • Repeat 2 x 10 times.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.

Video: Sit-Up Crunch

"Our ethos is not solely on treatment, but reflects the clinic's aim to promote achievable lifestyle improvements and preventative measures, with a strong emphasis on exercise rehabilitation, suited to your individual needs."

Clive Lathey DO. MSc (Sports Medicine)
Registered Osteopath & Sports Scientist. Founder of The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy

"Our ethos is not solely on treatment, but reflects the clinic's aim to promote achievable lifestyle improvements and preventative measures, with a strong emphasis on exercise rehabilitation, suited to your individual needs."

Clive Lathey DO. MSc (Sports Medicine)
Registered Osteopath & Sports Scientist. Founder of The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy

"Our ethos is not solely on treatment, but reflects the clinic's aim to promote achievable lifestyle improvements and preventative measures, with a strong emphasis on exercise rehabilitation, suited to your individual needs."

Clive Lathey DO. MSc (Sports Medicine)
Registered Osteopath & Sports Scientist. Founder of The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy

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