How important is a strong core?

By November 21, 2015Cycling

If like me you are prone to back pain after a long ride, you too have probably been told that strengthening your core is the answer. Having legs of steel is great (I have them too) but they soon become useless 3 or four hours in when the lower back pain starts and the glutes start to hurt.

Think about yourself on the bike, weight on the saddle, handlebars and pedals. Although the legs propel the bike forwards through pedalling, it’s the abbs and lower back that keep you in position and even the pedal stroke itself originates from the core too. So it’s inevitable, if we want to get stronger we need to work on the core.

Isn’t the gym full of men looking at themselves in the mirror though? Yes it is. That’s why I can tell you about a perfectly good solution that you can do in the comfort of your home in less than 20 minutes. Louise and I have been doing it for 4 weeks straight now and have not split open any tins of tomatoes, so it must be a good routine.

What you need:

2 x tins tomatoes, beans or any other liquid like food AKA small weights

1 x heavy pan, turbo trainer, anything heavy AKA medicine ball

2 x plastic bags AKA swiss ball (the plastic bags on your feet reduce the friction with the sofa)

1 x sofa knee height

If you are doing this first thing in the morning a priority is getting a coffee. Once that has settled, into the routine:

  1. 3 mins warm-up. This can be star jumps or running on the spot. Star jumps are much less harsh on the calves and I just hate running so I normally opt for them.
  2. Engage the core. 2 x 20 seconds of holding legs and chest off the ground.
  3. 10 x press-ups
  4. 12 x reverse fly’s (that’s like a normal fly using the tins of tomatoes but sat on the sofa)
  5. 12 x v-sits ( a sit up with your legs off the ground)
  6. 20 x squat thrusts immediately followed by 20 x plank with cycling action. This sounds really complicated but is not. For the squat thrusts put some plastic bags on your feet and get in the downwards dog position with your arms on the floor and feet on the sofa. Then bring your feet to your arms (modelled by Louise below). For the plank put your feet on the floor and arms on the sofa, bring your knees up to the sofa in a crossing action. The sofa can of course be replaced by a Swiss ball.
  7. Finally 20 x Russian twists with a heavy object like a pan or in my case turbo trainer. Oh, you could also use a medicine ball.

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Repeat this 3 times with 1-2 mins rest in between.

It’s a quick, low cost fix to a strong core for next season!

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