A solid base of core strength around your spine, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles will save you lots of pain, time on a physio plinth, and money. Sounds good? Here’s Sarah Walker’s guide to strengthening your core.
What are Core muscles and what do they do?
- Core muscles are the deepest layer of muscles around a joint.
- When active, they hold the joint in its correct position and provide stability to that joint as it moves.
- Joints with inactive core muscles are exposed to too much shear movement and over time this can lead to pain and injury.
- Core muscles work differently from the big mover muscles, they need to be woken up and activated. Once activated they work on auto pilot and function to stabilise your joints whether sitting at your desk, or careering down a mountain on your bike.
How do I strengthen my Core muscles?
- Core exercises like any strength exercise need to be progressed from basic to complex.
- A basic core exercise is being able to hold a position correctly, to then adding slow controlled movement in that position, to then adding an unstable base such as a physio ball or dome.
- Core exercises should be done on their own or at the end of an exercise session (not at the beginning).
Add these cycling core exercises to your training programme. Start three times a week, start basic and progress as you are able, taper to once a week once the exercises have become easier to do. Do repetitions of 12 with 3 second holds for each exercise.
When you start to feel your movement on the bike is easier, stronger and more powerful, you will know you are now hard core!