A strong core supports and protects the spine and helps to prevent lower back pain! The common cyclist position involves rounding forward, which increases pressure on the spine (and the discs in the spine). Over time this can stretch the ligaments and weaken the back and cause back pain. Having the extra support from a strong core can help prevent long term injury and pain. I’ve discussed this a bit more in this Back Strengthening for Cycle Tourists article.
Core strength can help improve balance and prevent falls.
Maintaining a strong core can help with comfort in the saddle, and help us maintain a good posture, which can reduce the chance of injury. This can overall can help our performance.
This is just a few of the reasons why core strength for cyclists is important!
How to strengthen your core
I’ve created a 7 day core strength challenge which will cover a different core muscle each day and how to strengthen it.
The challenge starts on Monday 20th July. Daily challenges will be posted on YouTube in the Core Challenge playlist. Subscribe to be kept updated. I’ll also post the videos below, as they become available.
The daily challenge will only take 5-10 minutes, so can easily be fit into your daily routine. It also means you can incorporate it into any other training plan you currently have.
Beginners are welcome! Although it’s important to work within your limitation and stop if you feel any pain (I realise I’m talking to cycle tourists that push themselves to the limit – but just want to make sure you do look after yourself 🙂 ).
If you are training for a cycle tour or long distance bike trip, I definitely recommend including some core strengthening into your training plan.
Day 1 of the Core Strength Challenge: The Obliques
Day 2 of the Core Strength Challenge: The Transverse Abs
Day 3 of the Core Strength Challenge: The Back
Day 4 of the Core Strength Challenge: The Glutes
Day 5 of the core strength challenge: The Abs
Day 6 of the core strength challenge: Hip Flexors
Day 7 of the core strength challenge: The Pelvic Floor & Diaphragm
With the lack of yoga specific to cycle touring (particularly long distance cycle touring). I thought I would share this 30 minute yoga for cycle tourists class that will help prevent those common ‘complaints’ and issues that can develop when long distance cycle touring.
I’ll be creating more and more resources to help prepare your body and mind for your cycle tour or bikepacking trip. I’ll also provide resources to help you manage common issues (like those below) that you might encounter while on the road.
I’ve also created this Yoga for Cyclists course – which is free for a limited time. Sign up now if you want to check it out. Lifetime access and downloadable classes included.
Common ‘complaints’ when long distance cycle touring
This sequence will concentrate on strengthen and stretching the main ‘problem areas’ listed below.
If you are experiencing any other common cyclist problems or have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line or visit my yoga site. A bit of a working progress at the moment, but I do offer online classes and Skype/ Zoom yoga classes (as I know how difficult it is to maintain a regular practice while cycle touring).
Weak glutes – this is something I didn’t discover until sometime after we had finished our cycle trip and I took running back up. It turns out my quads got so strong that they were constantly over compensating for my glutes. This resulted in weak glutes, and less support for the knees (and some knee pain) particularly when running or walking downhill.
Wrists (numbness in the fingers) – a very good cycle tourist friend of mine got this numbness so bad, she could feel or really move the entire left side of her hand.
Tight hamstrings – Michael got this really really bad once we finished cycling across Canada. He was constantly waking up in the middle of the night with cramps in his hamstrings, and could no longer completely straighten his leg.
Upper back, shoulders & neck – I used to get a lot of tension in my neck and upper body from a day in the saddle. I’ve created a separate article on back strengthening that gives a few more exercises on how to prepare the back for a cycle tour.
This practice shouldn’t be a substitute for seeking medical advice – this is to help prevent these issues from occurring. If you do have any persistent issues listed above then definitely look into getting it checked out.
30 minute yoga for cycle tourists class
Yoga can be challenging, but it should never feel painful. If you do feel any pain at any point, please slowly come out of the pose. Please also take a minute to read this before practicing any online yoga classes with me.
Sequence poses listed below
Low Lunge and Half Splits
Lizard and Side Twist
*** Swap sides ***
Forward Fold with IT band stretch
Quad Stretch and Figure Four balance
Pyramid (can have hands against a wall or chair)
*** Swap Sides ***
Downwards Facing Dog
Pigeon (reverse pigeon for sore knees)
Bridge (with optional leg raises and dips)