Core Stability and Balance for Cyclists Revisited

This article is an addition to an earlier article titled, Core Stability and Balance for Cyclists.

In the previous article I discussed the following core stability moves: planks, hip lifts, hip lift with knee extension, floor back extensions and oblique crunch. I would like to introduce two more core stability moves that increase the intensity of these isometric contractions: prone ball roll and supine leg curl. These are both done with an exercise ball and can be further increased in intensity by isolating to one leg.

Prone ball roll: This is executed in the prone position (face down , push up position)hands under shoulders like when doing a plank with feet (laces on ball)placed on top of the exercise ball. Holding this position as you would for a plank creates a need for more balance from the core. Once balanced you want to keep a flat back while bending the knees toward the floor and roll the ball forward till you are at a 90 degree bend for hip flexion. Return to the starting position and repeat. Suggest starting with 2 sets of 8-10 with 60 seconds rest between. To increase the intensity keep one leg extended out straight as you complete the movement of bending the knee for hip flexion.

Prone Ball roll starting position

Prone Ball roll starting position

Prone Ball roll finish position

Prone Ball roll finish position

Supine leg curl: This is executed in the supine position (laying on back, face up)arms to your side. Place your heels on top of the exercise ball and lift yourself up to a back plank position, only lift to the point that your weight is stable on your shoulder blades to protect the neck. After finding your balance, keep your hips lifted and extended while bending at the knees to roll the ball towards you until you are at 90 degrees of knee flexion. Return to the starting position and repeat. Suggest starting with 2 sets of 8-10 with 60 seconds rest between. To increase the intensity keep one leg extended out straight as you complete the movement of bending the knee.

Supine Leg curl starting position

Supine Leg curl starting position

Supine Leg curl Finish position

Supine Leg curl Finish position

Bike drills discussed last year were: track stand, slow speed slalom, slow speed pick-up game and bunny hop. A new move to add are slow speed sharp turns to the list. Although it might be implied that this would be accomplished while doing the slow speed slalom, I have found this not to be the case.

Slow speed sharp turns: This type of turn is meant to be done with your wheel as close to 90 degrees turned in either direction. This takes several actions into play. Track stand with a turn is how I think of it, and I practice sitting and standing for these. The trick is to use the rear brake against your pedaling to create the balance desired. You’ll want to look to the direction you are turning and attempt the tightest turns possible. This can be done by starting out with a fairly wide turn and slowly decreasing the radius of that turn as you go. Reverse the direction and attempt to be just as good one way as the other. I like to add in the intensity of one handed sharp turns when I’m practicing these drills.

Frontal view of slow speed sharp turn

Frontal view of slow speed sharp turn

Add these new suggestions to your core stability routines and find that improvement through continued adaptations. It’s also good to come back to some basic skills training for the bike- slow speed practice adds up to high speed safety. You can also contact Optimize Endurance Service’s coaches for further instruction in core strength training and bike handling skills. Practice these skills and even when the weather is sloppy, your riding won’t be.

Written by: Adam Fivehouse

Adam Fivehouse, USA Cycling LII Certified Coach, provides testing and coaching through Optimize Endurance Services. Contact him at 720-270-6876 or email Adam with training, coaching or testing questions. Or feel free to join us on one of our OES Training Rides. Ride details can be found on our Training Calendar.