“Best Bang for Your Buck” – Physio Bike Fit Exercises
Planking, as shown in this exercise, is a great crude way to improve strength of the core muscles.
Some cyclists, who have an otherwise healthy spine, can get back pain especially in relation to a period of hill training, or a big event with loads of vertical. Failure of their core muscles to counteract the power the legs are putting out is a common cause.
The benefit for cyclists is that the position simulates that position we use when riding, as opposed to other core exercises that involve laying on the back. This position also uses the erector spinae muscles, which for cyclists are probably more important than the abdominal group in holding steady on the bike.
The key with the plank is to really push the time hold, ie the first hold may only be 15 seconds but try and increase by 15 seconds every new session, building up to say 3 sets of 5 minute plank hold (with a 5 minute rest between each plank).
The other aspect of the plank is technique:
- First draw in the pelvis floor and into the lower deep abdominal layer (like holding in a wee)
- Raise up but keep breathing and don’t ‘lock on’ or hold your breath to keep the back still
- Flat back – no arch, no hump. Right in the middle.
- Hold until you get the shakes – badly
NB Never do this exercise if it hurts anywhere. If you have ever had any reasonable sort of back pain you should get a physio to construct an appropriate strength progression rather than trying to knock out some planks.
Another Best Bang for Your Buck ExerciseEmma Colson, Bike Fit Physio