Why Is Core Strength Important for Cyclists?
When we think of cycling, the first parts of the body we generally think of are legs. Yes, it’s fairly obvious that our legs are important to cycling, but what may not be so evident is the role that other parts of our bodies play in moving ourselves along on our two wheeled beauties, namely our core! If you are serious about cycling this year and you want to do more than ride at a gentle pace down a sunny road or trail then you really need to start strengthening your core!
What is the Core?
There is a common misconception about the core: when the ‘layman’ talks about ‘core strength’, they usually think of the abdominal muscles, the ‘six-pack’ and so those who think that way tend do a hundred thousand crunches and then wonder why they’re not as good at cycling as they’d like! (If this sounds like you, don’t worry; you’re in good company).
The core muscles are actually quite a bit larger than just your abdominal muscles. They start at your hips and go all the way through your abs, up along your spine and to your shoulders and neck. The core muscles are complex muscles requiring far more than simple crunches in order to get stronger. However, if you do improve your core strength, you’ll find that your cycling will vastly improve.
Why Do Cyclists Want a Strong Core?
A strong core is vital to a strong pedal stroke as it is the platform that you push from. If your core is not strong and stable, it will fatigue and you will waste a lot of energy compensating and using smaller muscles, your body will move up, down and sideways instead of putting that energy into the pedals. Having strong legs but a weak core is like having a muscle car with a hyundai chassis.
If you have a strong core it will increase your power to your pedals, increase your endurance, allow you to be more comfortable on the bike (specifically reducing lower back pain), take corners more efficiently and have a more efficient pedal stroke. All of which are very important to any cyclist. Unfortunately, merely biking around won’t do much for your core muscles which is why you have to work them out separately.
Strong legs will only take you so far; a strong core will bear you to the finish line and beyond. Don’t worry; we have some great exercises coming up (One of the next posts so sign up for our newsletter below so you don’t miss it) that will have you strong and ready when it comes time for your training, races, and long rides. Until then, keep those wheels spinning!
If you would like to learn more on core strength and truly how important it is pick up Tom Danielson’s Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling’s Winning Edge