Having a strong core and increasing flexibility can have a dramatic affect on yourlife, on and off the bike. Not only will it make you a better, fitter athlete, but when you’respending hours in the saddle it will make youa more comfortable one, too.
This selection of core exercises and stretches can be done by anyone, without any special equipment, in just a few minutes. With the exercises, we’re aiming for one to two minutes on each one and for stretching, it’s important to do both sides and to hold each stretch for 30 – 60 seconds. You can do them before or after your ride, and if you stick to a routine of practicing four to six times a week, it won’t be long before you see the benefits.
The neutral spine plank
Start on your hands and knees, with your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists. Maintain a neutral spine – the natural curves of the lower back and neck – and keep abdominals contracted. Then, while keeping your arms straight, draw your shoulder blades towards one another, then spread them apart.
The forearm plank
Stack your shoulders over your elbows, with forearms parallel and your feet hip-width apart. Reach the crown of your head away, draw the front ribs in, with abdominals contracted and legs straight. Now, hold this for 30 – 60 seconds or alternate by bending knees. Alternatively: place your knees on the floor and hold.
The side plank
From a forearm plank, roll over onto one arm and put your higher leg in front of the bottom leg. Stack your top shoulder over your bottom shoulder and elbow. Tuck the pelvis, with your abdominals and glutes contracted. Then, lift and lower your hips two inchesfor one to two minutes, then repeat on the other side.
Lay facedown, with your arms extended overhead and your legs parallel. Draw the navel/abdominals in and up. Now, lift your arms and legs off the floor and lower to start – keeping abdominals engaged throughout.
From the superman – abdominals engaged, legs and arms raised, feet flexed – curl your heels together and draw your elbows towards the waist. Return to superman. Repeat.
Shanti Tilling is a good friend of inGamba. She’s also a leading personal trainer and fitness instructor, with a passion for helping people create their own healthy, active lives. Her company, Sweat Play Live, is definitely worth checking out and her Instagram feed, @sweatplaylive, is packed with fitness and yoga goodness. We’ll be following this up with more great exercises soon!