Cyclists: Get Off The Floor To Train Your Core And The Science Behind It, Part II: Time To Move
In our first episode of the two parter, we got into the X's and O's as to why bike riders need to get off the floor to work their core. Click here to read it if you're one of those people who watches the sequel without having seen the original.
That's a slippery slope btw. If for any other reason than you'll miss out on a lot great puns and pop culture references. So there's that.
If you ride a bike, guess what I'm going to tell you? If you think it rhymes with do exercises that look like cycling to get better at riding a bike, then you're right. Well done.
That means single leg exercises that allow you to build both the stability and strength to damn near break the pedal off the crank arm from the amount of force you put into it. Yes, I realize if that happens, you're probably going to be on your back looking up at the clouds and not down the road or trail you're riding.
Sometimes, I write words to make a point. That was one of them btw.
Effective Cycling Exercises
Here are four of my favorite exercises for cyclists to do to build the biggest motor off the bike, so you can have a lot more fun when you're on it. They include single leg exercises because, well, like in part one, I S.A.I.D. so. Make the exercises look like the activity you want to improve, and you just may get better at doing the thing.
If that's riding a bike, that means driving force with one leg toward the ground. Just be sure to use things that hit diagonal lines with anti-rotation movements as well.
Isometric Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat Plank
If you can absolutely own static position, you can lay down quite a bit of power once you start moving. This exercise will do that for you and more.
You can go straight bodyweight plus straps version. You can hold on to a load (sandbag, bells of some kind, etc) to amp things up when you need more of a challenge.
Pulling forward on the foot in the strap will mimics what you do when one pedal drives down and the other side pulls up. If you ride flats, you'll still get a ton of benefit from this.
Don't have suspension straps? A chair works well to put your foot up on as well. You may not get the pulling motion of the elevated foot, but you'll still get loads of benefit.
Anti Rotation Exercise Band Lunges
Cycling takes place with the knees going up and down in one plane of motion. This exercise will take you left and right to help you open up the hips as you resist lateral forces.
Mountain bikers will especially get a lot out of this because of the way a trail undulates from an off camber perspective. Road riders, don't lose the faith because this one helps when you are putting in a hard charge out of the saddle as well.
Anti rotation core, vertical downward force with one leg and opening the hips in ways that aren't cycling. Works for me!
Single Leg Standing Isometric Wall Side Push
If you want to replicate what your lower body does when you throw your bike into a tight turn at speed, here you go. Pushing the inside foot into the wall forces the kickstand (hey, that's on a bike!) leg to have to resist that force. Or, what you do cornering.
This is an incredibly simple exercise that is anything but easy. But, if you want to improve your control through a turn, this will go a long way to helping.
Stick Mobility Ninja Flow (2 Sticks)
If there's one exercise that looks nothing like cycling but will undo everything riding a bike does to your body, its this one. It will open up the shoulders. Mobilize the hips. You can turn it into a strength movement applying isometric force.
Its a big bang your buck movement any way you slice it. One of the best applications is post ride to take your joints through all of the ranges of motion riding a bike can put a hurting on.
The End Of The Post
If you read part one, happy face emoji for you! If you didn't, go back and do it because this one will make a lot more sense.
Do the right things off the bike, have a hell of a lot more fun when you're on it. Which is kind of the point, right?
Until next time, I'm Al Painter, I believe basics work best and its been a pleasure to help you learn more exercise!
Alright, because you read both parts, here's a bonus exercise to say thank you. Think of it as an encore at an awesome concert.
Its akin to the side wall push above, but it involves "a little bit more" oblique activity. If you're not familiar with "Trainerese," quotation marks around a seemingly benign set of words means muscular discomfort is most likely in your future.
Without further ado, and I can ado like a champ, here you go:
Stability Ball Wall Push Glute “Activator”
If you need a program off the bike to have more fun being on it, drop me a line and I can help you. You may not like the way it goes down, but you'll very much enjoy how much more fun riding your bike is as you get stronger.
Have an awesome week!