Emma’s Top 5 Core Exercises For Cyclists

– Why should you bother with
core stability training? Well because it can help you to avoid injury and ride faster, especially when it comes to climbing. I’m going to show you five very simple core stability exercises that I did and that really helped me
to improve my climbing. I’m training now for the
Maratona dles Dolomites and I would recommend
these exercises to anybody who’s taking on a big mountain sportive. These exercises only take about 15 minutes and twice a week is enough
to see real benefits. So it’s really worth doing. You’ll need some simple equipment which you can find at your local gym or maybe you’ve even got it at home. What you’ll need is a big bouncy ball, otherwise knowing as a stability ball, a bench or the edge of a sofa, and a set of chin up bars. (soothing music begins) This is a variation on the plank, which you’ve probably heard of, but it’s a bit harder than the plank because you’ve got your
elbows on a stability ball, which, ironically, is not
as stable as the ground. Now, initially, you should
just try to hold this for a minute whilst
really engaging your core and keeping your back as flat as possible. When you feel like
you’ve got that mastered, try bringing your knees up to your chest while keeping your bum low. Try to get up to 20 on each side. When that gets easy, start introducing a little
forward and backwards wobble of the stability ball, then even a sideways wobble. You can see how this is analogous to stability on the handlebars. (soothing music) This is a variation on a bridge, with the added difficulty that
your feet are on the ball. You ought to try to hold it for a minute. Really engaging your core and lower back and keeping your bum low. When you’ve mastered that, try rolling the ball forwards towards you, keeping your bum low. And when you can do 20 reps of that, add the variation of rolling
the ball side to side 20 times. Now, when I first tried to do this, I fell off the ball. It took me weeks to master it, so I think it’s pretty tough. For added realism and an extra challenge, you can try putting your
hands on dumbbells like this because it’s much more
similar to the position on a bike handlebar. And, also, if the dumbbells are round, they roll side to side, and that is extra stability training. (upbeat music) For this variation on a back extension, you want to jam your
feet against the wall, have your knees bent, jammed against the stability ball, and then you want to engage
your core and lower back and pivot from the hips downwards. Nice and slowly, and repeat 10 times. When you can do it 10 times, try again with your arms above your head, which is significantly harder. When that gets easy, try
it with a small weight, for example 1.25 or 2.5 kilograms in your hands, raised above your head. (lively music) This is a very simple exercises. It’s just dips but with your
hands on the stability ball. You might wonder why, as a cyclist, you even need any arm or back strength. I can tell you that when
you ride out of the saddle, for example, on long climbs,
this will really help. (soothing music) This final exercise is,
in my mind, the hardest. You need to find a set of chin up bars or monkey bars that are parallel, raise yourself up to your
elbows at right angles and try and just hold that
position for 30 seconds. When you can do that, try raising your legs and
swing them side to side. This is an incredibly good exercise for making riding out
of the saddle feel easy. I can only manage about 10, but I’m building up. I know what you might be thinking. You just don’t have time
to do extra exercises. And I do understand, because cycling is already
a very time-consuming sport and fitting your training
around your job, family, and social life is
already a real challenge. But honestly, switching
a small amount of time from your cycling to core
exercises can lead to big gains. The upper body, core, and lower back are often areas of weakness in cyclists, and weaknesses let you down. I hope that if you tried
out these exercises, you found them tough
because if it’s difficult, that means it’s targeting your weakness, which is a good thing. Personally, I think I need to
get back on the monkey bars if I’m gonna do all
right at the Maratona. If you liked the video, give us a like. And you might like to check this video, which is a high-intensity
interval training session you can do on your commute. Part of the same series of
training videos for Alta Video. Or this video which was done at last year’s Maratona dles Dolomites.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Do you have a regular core workout? Let us know how you get on with Emma's exercises in the comments!

  2. I've never done core work and now I'm paying for it. Hip,back and shoulder problems, 2 years off the bike and only slowly getting back into. Do these to avoid injuries in your old age !

  3. Oooooo woman how I hate youuu!!!! thanks a bunch, working on climbing si it'll help, a question tough, should I introduce these excesises to my core routine (not very hard…. now) or change it all together? …luv ya!!! (sorry for the love/hate situation, but you know, it's cycling!!

  4. Thanks Emma for this vid! Really nice exercises, love how they are tailored to cycling, as well!

  5. Great tip! Thanks Emma. Problem is that I not that fit as you and think I must do something easier first. Maybe you can be back with exercises for beginner in bike riding? I do the plank sometimes.

  6. i started doing the plank and reverse ab curls/leg raises a month ago and it has made a differance

  7. https://youtu.be/NgvTfbmr3Mg?t=168 is interesting, never tought of this before, similar to glute ham developer.

  8. Is there a way to sloooow down this chick's voice. Fuck, I can't understand a word between her tonguey accent and speed.

  9. Definitely have a core routine, so important… just read Maximum Overload for Cyclists or Fast After 50

  10. great excersizes, but just try the plank for 3x 1 minute, does the trick for me when i start cycling 👍👍👍👍👍

  11. I would like to trade little miss no personality Emma for Matt back. I mean really, Matt made me laugh my ass off, Emma is boring as shit, and needs to go.

  12. I found a really good deal on a raleigh criterium and I wanted to ask my mum to get it for me but she refused because it had "thin wheels so it must a a sports bike" and "tell me, what sport do you do" She wants me to get a bike with mountain bike/BMX wheels and even after hours of convincing her that those kind of wheels are for forest environments and that there are like 0 forests in London, she still hasn't been convinced. (The bike is going for £125 for those who are wondering.

  13. The universe is telling me to stop ignoring the fact that taking up cycling even more seriously has actually made me neglect my core, leading to back problems. I really need to make the time to do this again. I used to have really strong abdominals but I know they have gone to flab comparatively.

  14. Emma is badass! I was really waiting for this video to improve core strength, thanks so much and keep the videos coming Emma!

  15. Great set, Emma!!!!! So, so glad to have you on the GCN team! At 2:46, ouch! What happened to your elbow? Recent crash? Hope you're doing okay….. Keep these coming!!!

  16. Thanks for these. Can you explain more about why these are helpful for climbing specifically? Or is it really any out of the saddle position?

  17. Alright guys, there's only 3 exercises you need to do if you which to become a powerhouse cyclist:


    No Smith machine. Barbell only, bros. And dont forget to stretch well, too.

  18. CRAZY IVANS are my go to core drill. Do them slowly & smoothly with as big a weight as you can manage

  19. As a trainer/ cyclist I use all those exercises with the exception of one: Dips on the ball. Most people will screw up their shoulders that way! Triceps are not " core" and there are many excellent, safe ways to strengthen them that won't extend the shoulder dangerously .

  20. after Matt had left, did Emma step up and volunteer for the position of Queen of spills, or was she forced into it?

  21. Ah, now we know why when the bike fit man tested your flexibility, he said "ah Emma you are quite flexible ya?" Looks hard, let's give it a go! Thanks for the well-explained video. Tim

  22. I can't think of anything worse than spending another moment of my life in a gym. I carry water bottles home from the shops for an iron core.

  23. Deffo solid excercises and great showing; clean and clear. Just remember to take them slowly and don't go all-in until you can keep your balance and positioning in all of these :D. Posture and correct movement are worth ten times more than simply getting a certain nr of reps.

  24. If you’re learning Italian, Emma pronunciation is pretty much spot on, don’t follow Dan, and Si especially 😂

  25. The only thing I do worse that clipping in is any of these exercises that require balance and or coordination.

  26. I'm always looking at core exercises to help with cycling & running and Emma's list has some new and challenging variations. Excellent, Emma!

  27. Hello Emma I’m a cyclist and horse rider particularity bareback riding, and I find this video very helpful cause I have a stability ball as well so I’m gonna do these exercises to build my core strength up thank you.

  28. Social life? Work? Family? Really? GCN has gone off the deep end saying cycling comes after all those.

  29. How come she has scrapes on her elbow and knuckle? Was Emma out brawling at the local pub on Friday night?

  30. Alongside the excellent exercises you can do with the gym ball I really like using the TRX suspension trainer with which you can work your whole body with every exercise enhancing the core ( back, abdomen,and hips). For someone wanting to spend most time on the bike 20-30 min on the TRX a couple of times a week will maintain great over all strength.

  31. Wow! These are all the places I hurt after a long, LONG ride. If 15 minutes of this, twice a week is all I need, sign me up. 👍🏼

  32. Emma, thanks for motivating me to get my exercise ball out of the far corner of my basement. Did some of the planks last night. Man, they are tough! I set a few goals for the end of the month. Goal 1. Be able to talk after the first 10 seconds!

  33. Emma, you're the best! Can you please do a video about pedaling out of the saddle? I do this occasionally on my MTB from a stop – usually if I didnt leave the bike in a low enough gear. OMG your exercise routine is incredible. Beyond my job and cycle commutes, I dont do much exercise.

  34. Great video. For me, cycling is part of an overall approach to fitness that includes weight training and core. I know many people don’t like hitting the gym, but it’s really important to how I feel, look, and perform. I alternate lifting and riding each day about 5 days a week. If you combine cycling (or running) and weight training you’re in physical shape for pretty much anything. I think people don’t really understand the benefits for building lean muscle mass, especially as they age. I know it’s not as fun a riding, but for me, I’d rather be more well rounded than singularly a body builder or cyclist. But hey, I’m the disciplined type so it may come easier for me.

  35. Looks like the little hill beast had a spill. Hate to see you scuffed up but glad your OK Emma. 😉

  36. I love the exercises. Thank you for the video. As an Aussie we really get behind our own athletes and are mentally conditioned that every other competitor is a sworn enemy. Emma comes across as such a knowledgeable person that is just so nice

  37. Something to add, think it might have been mentioned a bit before, these are fairly advanced core exercises. Work your way up to them, if you don't have the core to complete them properly you will end up injuring yourself more.

    Keep it simple to start, don't add any other equipment such as gym balls. That extra instability could cause too much strain on smaller muscle groups.

  38. For some reason I find Emma's exercise videos incredibly motivating. Whether it's the down-to-earth presentation, or the fact that I'll never doubt her expertise –it works!
    Stability ball and pull-up bars are in the mail order, I can't wait to get started!

  39. Emma is growing on me for sure….But Emma, please relax a bit more and show off your smile.
    She would put many men, even serious cyclists to shame.

  40. Thanks for being honest and saying it took you weeks to Master those positions, you make them look easy. Keep at it… Cheers

  41. Great workout Emma, going to do it tomorrow(did glutes today) Would love you to do more on strength and balance work. I`m in my early 60s and female, and have had noticeable muscle wasting since about 55.Also balance not as good. I train hard ,cycle , run ,and have a physical job, but sadly ,the muscle is going.!!!

  42. Even though some of these are helping your lower back, you should really never feel any strain in your lower back as that can lead to injury. Make sure you feel it in your front and oblique core along with the glutes. From someone with a stress fracture, and lots of experience fixing back injuries with core exercises.

  43. Kettlebell swing, deadlift, pull ups, sit ups with weight. Thats all you need and what will really work if you're a man.

  44. I've learned a lot of awesome cycling tips from you guys, and certainly have been entertained, but your "exercise" videos were, hum, subpar. Not this one, really good core exercises, and well explained.

  45. Love the Swiss ball/bench plank, I usually put my feet on a med ball and have two points of instability, great video and will add these to my core work too,keep up the good work Emma

  46. I've been doing the basic version of this for about 3 weeks now and am already seeing noticeable gains on my commute. Thanks

  47. I already knew that flexibility isn't one of my strong points but I look like and absolute grandpa doing these exercises. Huffing and puffing, even worse, I keep falling off the ball! Never mind, I'm sticking at it, the results will be worth it.
    One question though, should I do the plank and bridge exercises just once per day, so just 1x60sec plank and 1x60sec bridge?

  48. Emma you are without a doubt my favorite on GCN, I think your knowledge of cycling is a breath of fresh air. Also I think that your a beautiful woman.

  49. My wife and I love Emma.She adds much class to GCN programs.Anyone can see that she works very hard for her presentations (especially her exercise segments).Thank you, much

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