Sunday, June 7, 2009

Core routine

One of the things I've done over the past couple of years is try and keep my core muscles in decent form.

It is said about the "core" (i.e. abdominals, lateral abdominals and lower back muscles) that their strength is required for good bicycling form, but that bicycling doesn't help to develop them. (This seems a little contradictory to me, but it's not worth arguing about.)

In the March 2007 issue of Bicycling magazine, there was an (ahem, eye-catching) cover article by Dimity McDowell on abdominal development, along with a good Pilates-derived set of exercises. I've used this set of exercises as my "base" for a couple of years now and have added a few. The good news is this: I belong to a health club system that includes clubs that are 3.8 and 7.5 miles from my house. Depending on the amount of time I can spare, I can bike to the club, do these exercise in less than 30 minutes, and bike home for a cool-down and shower. (This is such an efficient use of time! Cycling to and from the club to get the aerobic segment of a workout is "practical cycling" defined.) Even though I like going to the club to do these, if you don't have time or don't belong to a club, these are easy to do at home on a yoga mat or extra piece of carpet. Two of the exercses require an exercise ball.

So here's my routine (except for the customary push-ups, exercises are all from the Bicycling article):
  1. Boxer Ball Crunch (40 reps CW, 40 reps CCW)
  2. Power Bridge (40 reps)
  3. Hip Extensions on exercise ball (40 reps)
  4. Plank (as long as possible, 1 to 2 minutes)
  5. Transverse Plank (30 sec. each side)
  6. Pushups (20 reps, or as many as possible with good form)
  7. Scissor Kick (2 x 50 reps)
  8. Catapult (25 reps)
  9. Boat Pose (40-45 sec.) (This is a challenging exercise and always gets the attention of the young turks!)
Then I cool down and stretch before getting back on the bike for the ride home:
  1. Pelvic Clocks (20 reps CW, 20 reps CCW) (PDF of exercise here)
  2. Supine Spinal Twist (2 each side, very relaxed, concentrate on breathing out very slowly)
If you find the illustrations of the exercises in the Bicycling link too small, there are some good online descriptions of many of the exact same exercises here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your workout routine details, always interesting to see what others are up to.