1. What is Core?
It’s a good question, because recently Core training is very popular and it’s very good, but how does it differ from the popular ABS tummies?
To understand this, we need to consider what muscles are in the Core muscles and what is their function and why a six-pack on the abdomen does not necessarily have to be a testament to the very strong Core muscles.
So to the point – core muscles can be divided into two inner core systems – built from muscles that directly attach to the vertebrae and are responsible for control and stability between the different segments of the spine and outer core – which include large, strong superficial muscles that do not attach directly to the spine, provide overall body stability and do not have the ability to control spine movements.
The muscles of the inner core system: diaphragm, multipartite muscle, transverse abdominal muscle, oblique abdominal muscle, pelvic floor muscles – all these muscles are called deep muscles, always omitted in standard abdominal training.
The muscles of the outer core system: the rectifier of the back, the widest back, the straight abdomen and the oblique outer abdomen – although the latter two are practiced using popular belly and torso twists, such exercises do not use their actual function, but can only make these parts visible with low fat content.
2. What is a Function of Core Muscules?
The primary task of these muscles is to stabilize the spine/tunis, so if you want to improve your balance, the proper work of the core will be a key element in improving motor coordination.
Most importantly, these muscles should in most cases be focused not on movement but rather on counteracting it – to put it simply, they should protect your lumbar spine against excessive bending forwards or to the sides, and should participate in rotational movements of the thoracic spine.
The last core function is to transfer power from the lower limbs to the upper limbs, allowing you to achieve better sporting performance.
In practice, I will try to explain this to you using a popular bench press exercise – when you squeeze a barbell focusing only on the upper muscles, you lose a lot of strength potential of your body. Try to do a few repetitions with not stretching your abdomen and lifting your legs, and then focus on a decent tension of your abdomen and feet firmly drive into the ground – you’ll see for yourself how much more pounds you can lift by keeping an eye on these two aspects – and in fact you’ll only benefit from the benefits of core training and transferring it to your daily activities.
3. Core Exercises with Ball
Dead bug with ball – isometric
Lie down on your back, then bend your knees and lift them up until your knee is perpendicular to the floor. Hands should be straight and also perpendicular to the floor. Place the ball between your hands and knees. For your own safety, try to keep the lumbar region as close to the floor as possible. The whole exercise is to press your hands and knees against the ball as hard as possible at the same time. Perform 3 series after 15-30s of isometric contraction.
Dead bug with ball
The starting position is the same as in the above exercise, but it differs in the execution. Focus on keeping your lumbar system on the ground as much as possible, because your task will be to alternate hand and foot work on opposite sides – try to reach the ground with them without losing contact between the lumbar region and the ground, then try to repeat the same thing on the opposite side. Make 3 series of 8-12 repetitions per side. If you can’t keep control and get your back off the ground, go back to the first version of the exercise.
Kneeling plank on ball
You start by taking the position of a supported kneel, then set your forearms on the ball. Then you try to place the whole body in a neutral position of the spine, so that your head, back, hip and back form a single line. Remember that you need to activate your Core muscles as much as possible to avoid discomfort in the lumbar region. Hold this position. Do this exercise in 3 series of 30-60 seconds.
Plank on ball
This exercise is a progression of the above exercise, the exercise is the same – you try to keep your spine neutral, but it is difficult to position yourself in this case – you have to keep your forearm position on the ball. Do this exercise in 3 series of 15-60 seconds.
Rollout with ball
In this exercise you start with kneeling supported, before the ball – then place your forearms on the ball. The movement consists in straightening your hips and returning to the starting position. You move until you feel strong tension on the core muscles, but do not feel bent in the lumbar region. Make 3 series of 12 repetitions each.
4. Core Exercises for Cyclists
You take the position of a support forward on straight hands. You then move the knee of one leg towards the abdomen, keeping the torso level and stomach tense, then return to the support and repeat the movement to the other side. This exercise teaches you how to keep your legs stable while working, it is a movement very similar to the one you do while riding a bike, so it will make it much easier for you to transfer exercises from the gym to your bike training.
Try to do them at the beginning slowly focusing on stabilizing your position in 12-15 repetitions per side, repeating the whole thing in 3 series. With time you can start doing this exercise faster in order to improve your condition and perform it for a period of e.g. 30 seconds of hard work with your legs – but remember that hips cannot move constantly up and down but you have to keep them in one position!
Side plank with leg rising
You take the position of a side support on your forearm with your legs straight in your knees. Then you try to lift your hips up as high as possible and hold this position, your task will be to lift the free leg up and back. It is great for cyclists because with a stable core and a stable pelvis, you move your lower limb, additionally strengthening your middle gluteal muscles. Perform 8-12 repetitions per side, then do the same on the opposite side. Repeat the whole thing 3 times.
Start with the forearm support and move to straight hands, then return to your starting position. Another very good exercise, but we change the muscles that work, because with a stabilized pelvis you try to raise and lower the position with your hands. The most important thing is that you eliminate sideways movement of hips as much as possible, your pelvis must be as walled up as possible and the movement takes place only in your hands. Do this exercise in the number of 8-12 repetitions in 3 series.
The starting position in this exercise is kneeling supported – knees are under the hips and hands under the shoulders – you hold your knees 1-2 cm above the ground. Your task will be to move your knee as far as possible towards your hand in this position, keeping it low on the ground – your back should be neutral – then you repeat the same thing to the other side. You do it all in 8-15 repetitions per side in 3 series.
I hope that thanks to this article I have introduced you to the subject of core training for cyclists. Remember, however, that it is never possible to perfectly reproduce the exercise technique in pictures, so for your own health and effects consult a good personal trainer in your area and make sure that you do these exercises properly!
We recommended to do Core training for Cyclists 1-3 time a week depends on part of the season and lever of your performance.
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