5 Reasons Cyclists Should Work the Core

5 Reasons Cyclists Should Work the Core

Bradley Wiggins devotes 30 minutes a day to his, fusing yoga and Pilates techniques with stability ball work. A rock-solid core is vital for cyclists and here’s six reasons why:

1) Building Climbing Power 

Strong core muscles create a solid corset-like effect when climbing or sprinting. This central, stable base helps generate pedaling power and lessens the pressure on the shoulders, arms and hands.

2) Lower Back Protection 

Most cyclists have highly developed back muscles from holding the upper body in a permanently flexed position and comparatively weak abs. Result? Niggling lower backache or (worst case scenario) a slipped disc so it’s crucial to address this imbalance.

3) Improve Posture 

A strong core will maintain a good riding posture even as the miles wear on and help avoid the tendency to lock the arms or slump in the saddle.

4) Preventing Osteoporosis 

A cyclist’s joints are not stressed by contact with the ground like a runner’s joints are through pavement pounding. Core exercises, such as plank, help prevent osteoporosis (literally ‘porous bones’) by forcing cyclists to support their own bodyweight.

5) Upper Body Stillness

The abdominals (particularly the obliques at the sides of the waist) and the lateral glute muscles, stabilise the upper body minimising energy-sapping and inefficient side-to-side rocking.


……And How to Optimise Your Efforts


Make it Cycling-Specific – Mimic cycling movements to create ‘functional’ strength. Lift up into bridge and raise alternate legs in a pedaling motion. Perform plank, round the back and draw a knee into the abdomen to replicate a sprint position (see photos).

Its Not All About the Abs – The word ‘core’ has come to mean ‘abs’ but the core wraps all the way around encompassing the lower back, and extends to the powerful gluteal muscles. Core work, therefore, should include the lower back and buttocks.

Forget the Six Pack – Though aesthetically pleasing, its better to work on the deeper layer abdominals than cultivating the more superficial six pack. These are the muscles that will keep you cycling for longer, in more comfort.

Lexie Williamson is a British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Sports Science™ instructor specialising in yoga for cyclists and runners, fitness writer and author of Yoga for Cyclists, (June 2014, Bloomsbury Publishing).

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Please tell me why cycling is not good at preventing osteoporosis? Granted there is no impact and the weight is largely supported by the saddle but surely when standing on the pedals grinding up a hill there is enough stress on the legs and arms to elicit enough osteoblast cell stimulation by tendon pull on the muscles?  

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These are great tips! I'll have to work them in to my exercise regime.

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