Core Strength for Cyclists

By Shular Scudamore

Transversus Abdominus muscle

Traveling Cyclists Need a Strong Core

Touring by bicycle for 4, 6 or even 8 hours a day requires strong core muscles. While you don't need 6-pack abs to ride, supporting you are supporting yourself on your handle bars and your saddle. Training the often overlooked, but essential core muscles is key to your endurance on long bicycle rides, especially transcontinental rides. Think about the way you are supported on your bike. Your hands are on the bars, feet on the pedals and the rest of your weight is supported on your saddle. This position depends on your core strength, but it does not build it. Poor core strength can lead to lower back pain. The muscles we are concerned about here are the transverse abdominis that provides a stabilizing girdle around your torso. They are the deepest of the abdominal muscles. We are not talking about developing six-pack abs. That is the rectus abdominis. They don't do anything to stabilize us or power the bicycle. Abdominal exercises can be done three times each week. Here are some effective exercises using only your body weight, not requiring any equipment and only a small amount of time. Perhaps the push-up should be included here as well.

The Plank

This exercise works your transverse abdominals, your upper and lower back. The plank is similar to a push-up. Start by lying on your stomach. Raise up like in a push up, keeping your back straight and your abs tight. Work up to 2 minutes and increase the number of repetitions. This is also a useful exercise if you plan to ride using aero bars. You can do another version with your elbows beneath your shoulders. Raise up resting on your forearms.


This is a variation of the plank above. Start the same as the plank. Hold the position for ten seconds then raise your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for one second while you pull your belly button toward your spine. Build up to ten repetitions.

Transverse Plank

This is a plank on your side. Lie on your left side (either side) with your elbow under your shoulder. Your forearm will be in front of you. Your right foot will be on the left foot. Lift your hip off the floor, making your body a straight line. Raise your right arm over your head. This works the transverse abdominals and your obliques. Work up to ten repetitions. Change sides and repeat the exercise.

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