What does a strong core feel like when biking

I don’t have any injuries or any discomfort most of the time but I also am a small build 5’10’’ and 136 lbs. I haven’t done a single weight training session since I started training on the bike but was considering doing the core exercises recommended by coach Chad in one of the blog posts.

Question: what does it feel like when you have a strong core? Does the distribution of weight on the bike changes? Do you feel like you have to push less hard? I am curious what improvements you have experience by focusing on core strength.

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Increased ability to put out high power while seated - for me this presents with less lower back pain on long hard races and a better ability to stay seated even when the cadence is forced to drop due to steep climbs

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Bum solid on the saddle during hard efforts. When you’re out the saddle, you don’t look like you’re ‘smashing’ it with your hips going on over the place, keeping everything smooth and helping power transfer. Core strength helps to angle the hips back so you can ride in a more tucked over position without crunching your cojones. Helps to avoid a sore lower back in long rides (and in general). You also feel a much better connection between each contact point on the bike.

I focused a lot this year on core strength and it really has helped. I wouldn’t say you have to push ‘less’ hard, although you’ll pedal more efficiently and reduce pain around the body. In terms of weight I’d say it helps reduce weight on the handlebars as you can ‘hover’ off them a little more. I also feel like it gives me an extra weapon in a sprint when you really want to be using each muscle you can.

Watch Alberto Contador here for an idea of what it ‘looks’ like instead of feels (around 2:05 minutes in), putting out a huge effort, and able to look smooth and controlled, driving his effort from the core (warning, terrible music):

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Beneficial for road biking like others have said. And if you start to ride MTB (or I’d imagine CX), a strong core and upper body is even more important.

The following video shows the kind of gym training Nino Schurter does. A lot of core work. And even his leg workouts involve core, as many of them are single leg drills.

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At 56 yrs old relative newbie I can do a 4 hour ride in the drops, taking my fair share of pulls and not feel a thing after the ride. If there is a tailwind on flat road I can hammer above 30mph, in my saddle, on a crappy country road and not get nervous. When I let my core strength slip, I can’t do those things. In the gym I focus on bench press, lat pull down, cable row, t-bar row, and other assistive pull/back work.

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Great description of feel and advantage. I’m new to cycling and starting to focus on core more than ever for all the reasons you mentioned. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

I do a lot of track racing so the core / weights sessions are a big part of that. The two biggest advantages I can feel are seated power and not fatiguing on long rides. I can do a 4-5 hour ride and normally feel just as comfortable on the bike at the end as I did at the beginning.

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it feels like your midsection is a solid piece of metal that doesn’t move and you rip all the power through the pedals. It’s amazing.

5 minutes a day can change your life!

Brendan

Does anyone have any good core exercise that you can do with just body weight, and small equipment. My wife has a 10lb med ball, 5kg dumbbells, and a 12kg kettle bell. I have been using the Nike NTC app for core work outs, but wondering if anyone has any good suggestions.

Some easy bodyweight ideas you can look up (noting you have dumbells):

Crook lying > pelvic tilting > tabletop > deadbugs
Plank circuits - front, side, reverse
High front plank with dumbell pull across (or move anything to destabilise, keep it light)

If you get strong a swissball or destabilisation plate (infaltable is ok!) can really mix things up. Put feet on it whilst doing the planks and it brings in a lot more of the body to support the core.

Also well worth having a look at a couple of videos for some advanced ideas.


I find Kate Courtney easy to watch…

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