Top 8 Core Exercises for Cyclists

sherry exercise

 

Many beginner and experienced cyclists are unaware of the fact that a solid core is the foundation by which all necessary movement, including their strokes stem from. Even though cycling requires riders to use their legs as their main source of power, having  a solid core will eradicate the superfluous upper-body movement. This way the full force of the energy produced by your body will go towards a effortless pedal stroke.

Recently, I came across  a 10 minute, high intensity routine, created by Street. This routine is said to have helped develop cyclists high-performance chassis by concentrating on  transverse abdominus, the innermost abdominal muscle,lower back, obliques, glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors. As a result your core strength will increase and begin to work in unison with the rest of your body.

It is recommended cyclists perform the exercises in this routine, in the order listed, for a minimum of three times a week to form a powerful core that promotes a faster, longer, and a stronger ride.

Core Exercise Step 1: Boxer Ball Crunch
Focus areas: Obliques,Transverse abdominal, lower back

  • Place a stability ball in behind you, in the middle of your back, keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees 90 degrees. Place your hands behind your head, but don’t pull on your neck.
  • Squeeze your belly button toward your spine and lift your upper back off the ball. Keeping your shoulders off the ball, trace a clockwise oval with your torso and apply pressure with your lower back to keep the ball in place. After 15 clockwise ovals, trace 15 counterclockwise.

Results: Street states, “This fluid, circular exercise builds control,” says Street, and that helps you minimize lateral torsion and wasted motion.

Core Exercise Step 2: Power Bridge
Focus areas: Hip flexors, glutes, lower back

  • Lying on your back, with your knees bent and place your heels near your glutes. be sure to keep your arms are at your sides with your palms facing down.
  • In one sleek motion, squeeze your glutes, raise your hips off the floor and push up from your heels to form a straight line from shoulders to knees; slightly raising your toes from the floor. Hold for this position for two seconds. Keeping your toes raised, lower yourself three-quarters of the way to complete one rep. Complete 20 repetitions.

Results: Hip flexors will be stretched in an effort to strengthen the connection between your lower back and glutes.

Core Exercise Step 3: Hip Extension
Focus areas: Glutes, lower back, hamstrings

  • Lying with your hips and stomach on the stability ball, put your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, and extend your legs with toes resting on the floor.
  • Keeping your spine straight and shoulder blades back, as if you’re trying to make them touch, lift both legs off the floor while keeping them straight. If possible, raise them slightly higher than parallel to the floor. Hold for two seconds and then lower them.  Complete 20 repetitions.

Results: This exercise increases backside strength, for added performance on the second half of the pedal stroke.

Core Exercise Step 4: Plank
Focus areas: Upper and lower back, transverse abdominus

  • Lying flat on your stomach, place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms and hands on the floor.
  • Lift your hips off the floor, keep your back straight and abs tight, while resting on your toes. Hold for 60 seconds.

Results: Planks build the strength and muscular endurance you necessary to ride powerfully in the drops or in an aero position.

Core Exercise Step 5: Transverse Plank
Focus areas: Transverse abdominus and obliques

  • Lying  on your right side, with your right elbow under your shoulder, forearm in front for stability, and stack your left foot on your right. Raise your left arm over your head.
  • In one sleek motion, lift your hips to create a straight line down your left side. Lower your hips a few inches off the floor; complete 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.

Results: Your obliques will become stronger and as a result will improve your stability in the saddle.

Core Exercise Step 6: Scissors Kick
Focus areas: Hip flexors, transverse abdominus, inner and outer thighs

  • Lie on your back with legs straight, place both hands palms down under your lower back.
  • Pushing your elbows down into the floor and pulling your belly button toward your spine, raise your shoulders off the floor and look toward the ceiling. Raise your legs 4 inches off the ground and scissor them: left leg over right, then right over left (one rep). Work up to 100.

Results: A comprehensive movement that connects key cycling muscles, the kick also builds inner-thigh muscles, which help you achieve hip, knee and forefoot alignment for a proper and efficient pedal stroke.

Core Exercise Step 7: Catapult
Focus area: Entire core

  • Sitting with a slight bend in your knees, press your heels against the floor. Extend arms to the front at shoulder height, palms facing each other.
  • With a straight spine and upward gaze, inhale deeply, then exhale and slowly lower your torso to the floor over five counts as you inhale. Arms are overhead.
  • In one smooth movement, leading with the arms, exhale and explode back to the starting position. Complete 20 reps.

Results: This exercise promotes ultimate body control.

Core Exercise Step 8: Boat Pose
Focus areas: Lower back, transverse abdominus

  • Sit, resting both hands lightly behind you, and lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle.
  • Keeping your legs together, lift them off the floor as you extend arms forward at shoulder height. Abs are tight, as thighs and torso form a 90-degree angle. If your hamstrings are tight, you’ll need to bend your knees a little. Hold for 60 seconds.

Results: This pose increases the lower-back stability and core strength.

Top Cycling Routes in Cape Town

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Cycling in Cape Town is one of the most peaceful things you can do. Your cycling can be done at your own pace, it’s not nearly as expensive as you may think, and you will find other cyclers are amazingly friendly. Cape Town’s environment is bottomless with single tracks, switch backs, tarmac and jeep tracks to suit the needs of every cyclist from specialized riders to those that cycle for fun. Below you will find a list of some of the best places to cycle in or near Cape Town.

Cycling Routes:

Rhodes Estate
Route Distance: 5.2km
Plum Pudding Hill is surrounded by a circle route which is perfect for family excursions as it is not too demanding. The area also provides an abundance of parking and restrooms.

Camps Bay to Hout Bay
Route Distance: 22km
This route offers stunning views of Camps Bay, Clifton and Lion’s Head to Suikerbossie and down to Hout Bay Village.

369The Redhill Charity Challenge
Route Distance: 29km
The Red Hill Charity Challenge offers riders a scenic 15km back route. Although riders participating in the challenge must complete a minimum of four laps (116km), there have been many cycling veterans known to complete over 200km.

The Robertson Cycle Challenge
Route Distance: 95km
The Robertson Cycle Challenge is a yearly event that starts at Robertson and continues along the tar road. The route also includes an extensive incline past the Breede River Bridge and travels through exquisite the wine farms and Bonnievale Cellars.

There are many more great routes for cycling in and around Cape Town! Be sure to visit and see for yourself!

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SRAM Red eTap Wireless Groupset Review

The SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset is set to become available during the spring of 2016.  While it may seem a bit far away, it’s actually somewhat around the corner and the next spring season in which we can bike again.  The bike will be priced somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000.  This bike contains a new way to shift gears.  Now if you have big hands, this may be a cause for concern.  The shift levers are a bit smaller which may cause discomfort for larger hands.  A great aspect to this bike is the lack of wires. The shifters paired electronically with the derailleurs making it easy to part with wires.  For more on this bicycle, check out the article here on Cycling Weekly or the video below.

The Race for the Georgia Cup

A demanding sport, Cycling requires speed, endurance and sheer will. With courses stretching for miles, the training required to meet theses mammoth stretches are an undertaking all their own. However, the annual Georgia Cup is a monster unlike any other. Summoning hundreds of racers every year to brave its twists and turns, the Georgia Cup is looking to challenge cyclists yet again in 2015.

Sherry Romello - Georgia CupThe average competitor putting in nearly six hours of training a day to get into peak physical condition, the Georgia Cup demands nothing short of dedication from its potential challengers. Though the course is little over a mile long, racers are required to run lap after lap without tiring or crashing. With so many packing the lanes, avoiding an accident will be almost as difficult as finishing.

With hairpin turns that racers take at speeds of over 30 mph, the course is a challenge for even the most experienced riders. With its focus on short stretches, cyclists are forced to push their pedaling skills to the limit. Equal parts endurance and execution, this race tests every part of the cyclist’s skill to complete. Without the necessary preparation to meet these many obstacles, a rider will risk falling while taking a sharp turn, and lose his place in the race.

A focus on sprint-centered racing requires course specific training, and riders have been experimenting with various techniques to better prepare for the Georgia Cup corners. Incorporating extra exercises into an already intensive program may seem impossible, but without the addition of several hours of sprinting, a cyclist is sure to fall behind. Such a lofty challenge is an invitation to the many eager cyclists looking to prove themselves. After hundreds of training hours and pushing the pedal, the thought on every competitor’s mind come race day will be the coveted Georgia Cup.

A Time For a Family Ride

Sherry Romello - family bikeSummer is here and the kids are home! During the summer is a great time to take the family on a bike ride. It’s great exercise, a family bonding experience, and is a lot of fun. If you’re kids have yet to learn to ride a bike, now is a great opportunity to do so. Practicing near your house can be dangerous if you live on a busy street. Try taking your child to an empty department store lot. To ensure safety, purchase your child’s helmet at a biking store as opposed to a department store. Normally biking shops will make sure the helmet fits prior to you taking it home. A great fitting helmet can reduce the risk of injury by up to 85%.

It’s also important that you teach your children the rules of the road. Riding on the proper side of the road (right side) and the proper hand signals when during can be the difference between safety and an injury. If your town has designated bike lanes, make sure you use them and encourage your children to use them as opposed to a busy street without them.

Find a great path that isn’t too challenging for everyone, and one that maybe leads to a park. It’s also nice to find a time when everyone can go. Usually after dinner is a great time because everyones home, it’s not as hot later in the day and it’s generally light out until about 8:30 pm. For more on this topic, check out this article by DailyJournalOnline.com.

AAA Expands Offering to Bicycles

The winters can be tough on cyclers, especially those who live in the northeast. Not only does the cold and snow keep us inside our homes, but it also makes for tough conditions to get out on our bikes. Once it’s finally nice out, the roads and bike paths usually become beaten and weathered making it rough on our bikes. With roads beaten, cars will often suffer unexpected breakdowns, usually with tires. Luckily for us, there are services like AAA that will come out and help us. Now imagine you’re in the midst of a 10 mile bike ride and you blow a tire. Where do you turn?

Sherry Romello, AAA, Mid Atlantic, bicycles, roads, cyclingAAA now offers bicycle roadside assistance for the Mid-Atlantic region. Those who drive in this area know how bad and frustrating these roads can get with pot holes and what not. Current members of AAA Mid-Atlantic do not have to do anything in order to add bicycle roadside assistance, it’s automatically added to their current membership. You can have your bike towed and the mileage rate is the same as it is for cars. For Basic members, you get up to 3 free miles, 100 miles for Plus/Premier members, and 200 miles for a Premier member. A key point to note here is that the service is only available to bikes that were traveling a normally traveled road. This means you can’t request a AAA representative to find and pick up your bike in a park on a bike path. The service also does not include repairs, AAA will simply pick you up. At this point in time, over 1 million members are covered by this offering.

For more on this interesting article, check it out at nj1015.com.

Student to Bike Across United States

Have you ever thought about cycling across the country? Well Alicia Chen has, and she’s going for it! Chen, a junior at the University of North Carolina will bike 3,600 miles from Nags Head, North Carolina to San Diego, California. With a passion for cycling that stems back to her high school days, Chen decided in that starting in May, she’s going to put that passion to use and cycling across the United States.

sherry romello - bike and buildAlicia Chen will be cycling for the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Bike & Build. Bike & Build has strong ties with the University of North Carolina drawing more students from their than any other school. In fact, just this year alone, 13 students and alumni from UNC will be making the trek across the country.

During her freshman year, Chen met a man who shared his struggle with being homeless. She wanted to raise awareness for him as well as others who struggle in similar ways. During her trip across the United States, Chen will be building houses with Habitat for Humanity for those in need.

Chen must raise $4,500 for her trip to fund the cost of travel and building costs. She won’t be on her own. Rumors, a vintage clothing store in Chapel Hill will host a benefit night where from 3pm-7pm, the store will donate 20% of the stores profits towards Chen’s efforts.

For more on this terrific story, check it out at dailytarheel.com.

Lezyne Launches New GPS For Bicycles

Lezyne, founded in 2007 by industry icon Micki Kozuschek is beginning to expand it bicycle accessories empire with a new category. Lezyne is adding GPS Computers to their fleet of bicycle products. The new category will feature three models, the Mini, Power, and Super.

The Mini GPS is comparable in size to a quarter. It’s the smallest known GPS cycling computer in the world so it should fit any bike. The exact dimensions are 33.4 x 50.8 x 22.5mm. Its weight and size can also be compared to that of a Tic tac box.

Sherry Romello - GPS

The next size up is the Power. The Power GPS can work with Bluetooth Smart Devices and help you monitor both your power and heart rate. At 46.5 x 73.2 x 27mm, the Power is significantly larger than the Mini but does have more capabilities. The screen doubles in size and allows up to four different date tables to be monitored at once. Its battery runs just about twice as long as the Mini at 22 hours of running time. The storage capabilities far exceed that of the Mini as well at 200 hours of ride time. Lezyne has added an additional Glonass satellite antenna to supplement the standard GPS one. This allows much faster and more accurate position tracking when riding. This especially key when your mountain biking or biking through a forest and the path is not clear.

For the Super, it has the same physical form as the Power but adds ANT+ wireless capability in addition to Bluetooth Smart, for pairing with an even broader array of available sensors. To make matters better, the storage capacity with the Super reaches 400 hours of ride time. Each of the products use Lezyne’s X-Lock in order to insure the GPS stays connected to your bicycle. Look for these to hit shelves in April or May.

For more on these products, check this out.

5 Places to Add to Your Cycling Bucket List

“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page” – St. Augustine

To fully appreciate the world, one must travel. Sure, one can take in nature’s beauty through pictures and videos; however, according to St. Augustine that will still leave you stuck on page one. It’s time to turn those pages and experience life to the fullest. And certain places just need to be seen from the saddle of your bicycle, so here are 5 places to add to your cycling bucket list:

The Island of Tasmania in Australia:
Tasmania is a touring cyclist’s dream, it’s as simple as that. Smooth roads meet stunning views and free camping. Additionally, Tasmania offers endless views of the sea and a multitude of bakeries to satisfy your mid-day treat hankering. And of course, let’s not forget about the wildlife.

The Dolomites

The Dolomites in Italy:
There is no way to describe the thrill of riding through a mountain range. Taking in breathtaking views while inhaling the fresh mountain air comes second to none, especially when said mountain range is located in northern Italy. The Dolomites offer 6500+ feet peaks as well as the stunning Seiser Alm, the largest Alpine meadows in all of Italy.

Zagora to Tafraoute in Morocco:
Imagine sand dunes towering close to 1000 feet above your head, then couple that with the images of a lush oasis and incredible nature and you’ve got the beauty that is southern Morocco. While this location offers astonishing cycling routes that should be taken in in all their glory, the desert around Zagora in particular is worth exploring as well. Tip: if you want to experience the almond trees (yes, there are almond trees) in full bloom, plan your trip around February.

The Molesworth Road in New Zealand:
New Zealand has a lot to offer in terms of cycling; however, Molesworth Road is certainly one to add to your bucket list. With that being said, it’s important to note that although this road is a must, it’s certainly not an easy ride. You’ll run into dirt roads; however, there are cold streams and campsites available at each end of the road as well as surreal views of farmland. Additionally, there are hot springs calling your name at the road’s southern tip – the hot springs of Hanmer.

Eastern Oregon in America:
If you’re looking for a cycling spot that’ll allow you to instantly de-stress while reconnecting with yourself and reflecting on life, grab your bike and head over to eastern Oregon. Route 395 will take you through the heart of Oregon’s desert, allowing you to be one with your thoughts while soaking up the stunning scenery that surrounds you. You’ll be able to see Abert Rim, which is one of the highest fault scarps in the US, and treat yourself to an authentic slice of apple pie at the local rest stop.