It’s hard not to have heard about core training. But what is it and how exactly does it benefit cyclists?
Our core is not what we typically think of – it’s not just your abdominal muscles or having a flat stomach. Your core is a group of muscles that form a band around your midsection. As cyclists our movements come from a stable core.
Core exercises train the muscles in your abdomen, back, hips and pelvis to work together. This can result in a better ability to really get power out of your legs, at the same time reducing injury and achieving better posture.
There are many programs available that strengthen the core. Yoga and Pilates are effective here with the added benefits of stretching and developing a mind-body connection that is important to athletes. Form is very important to achieve the best benefits, so these exercises are best done with a good teacher. Look for experience and professional qualifications. Whatever method you choose, remember your core is a system so look for a regime that works out the whole system, not just your abs.
Regular core work can make you a stronger cyclist and can reduce injury on and off the bike. Pull out your mat and get going. You’ll be glad you did.
-Joyce Casey, Adventure Cycling Tour Leader