Top three core excercises to ride like the wins in 2012 (part 2)
Posted Jan 15 2012 9:44am
1) Brick Walls
This is a strategy I will use during a long hilly ride or a hill interval workout, and can be performed on your indoor trainer or during an outdoor ride. Climb an entire hill in the standing position. While this may not be ideal for efficiency, it really works your core. As you climb, try to breathe from deep in your core, just behind the bellybutton. At the same time, visualize your abdomen as a "brick wall", and maintain a tight core, especially as you drive your knees up to your chest. If you do this properly, then every the leg comes past the top tube you'll feel your abdominal muscles contract. For added effect, avoid bouncing on the handlebars.
2) Mountain Climbers
Your focus during this exercise is very similar to the Brick Wall, except now you should be off the bike, in a push-up position, driving your right knee up towards the left elbow and vice versa. Again, maintain focus on a tight abdomen and deep stomach breathing.
You will also need to focus on maintaining a straight line from the shoulders to the wrist, and hips that are close to the ground. Below is a link to a video of me performing the exercise. These can be performed slowly, as in the video, or quickly, mimicking a rate closer to a cycling cadence:
3) Cable Torso Twists
This exercise requires core force production against a cable resistance. It is important in your core conditioning program to include an exercise that introduces external resistance. What is the external resistance that a triathlete's core experiences while cycling?
The bike! You have to steer and navigate your bike against the friction of the road, and for an Ironman triathlete especially, this can lead to fatigue over the course of 112 miles. Force transmission from the pelvis to the lower extremities is important, but functional strength and endurance is also required for the upper body force transmission from the core. The cable torso twists is also a great exercise for swimmers who need to focus on hip rotation. Here is a link to the exercise video:
Add these moves into your weekly program and you'll begin to feel the results within about 4-6 weeks. A stronger core will enhance a cyclist's force transmission from the hips and pelvis to the lower extremities. In addition, a triathlete riding in the time trial position will likely have more support from the trunk, and thus place less pressure on the shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles when resting on the aerobars.
An effective core conditioning program needs to be consistent, and should be performed at least twice per week during the entire training year. A word of caution: avoid any core training up to 48 hours prior to competition, as muscular fatigue and soreness peaks at about the two day mark.
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