Get your core pumping with this quick 10-minute circuit
As a cyclist, you don’t want to neglect core strength. These key mid-section muscles provide the stabilization and upright posture you need to ride efficiently and injury-free. And it doesn’t take much time to really crank up the burn in your core — including your abs, back, and glutes.
Proof: This 10-minute core workout, developed by NASM-certified personal trainer and USATF-certified running coach in New York City, by Yusuf Jeffers, features creative movements that work your core from many angles, challenging you and getting you ready to do your rides to dominate .
The benefits of this 10 minute core workout for cyclists
You may have already performed planks and sit-ups as part of your core workout, but we all need to change things up from time to time to give our muscles a new challenge. This fast-paced routine puts a twist on familiar movements so not only does your muscles work in new ways, but your mind stays engaged, repetition after repetition. These movements also mimic the movement patterns you perform on a bike, helping you get strong with every pedal stroke.
What’s more, practicing this 10-minute core workout will help you build the strength you need to ride faster and with faster turnover. “A strong core helps stabilize your upper body, which helps you maintain good posture,” says Jeffers. Better cycling posture can help you ride comfortably for longer and have better control of the bike.
The last benefit is of course time. All it takes is 10 minutes to build this quick core circuit. And when you have more time, you can add more rounds and build even more stability. All you have to do is get started!
How to use this list: Perform each exercise in the order listed below for the time described. Do a lap to keep your workout under 10 minutes. If you have more time, rest 1 to 2 minutes and then repeat a second round. Go for a third if you really want to test that core strength!
You don’t need any equipment for this workout, but a set of dumbbells and an exercise mat are optional. Each move is demonstrated by Jeffers in the video above so you can learn proper form.
1. Dead bug variation
Why it works: Dead bugs activate almost every muscle in the core (including rectus abs, transverse abs, obliques, and hip flexors) and are a great move for all fitness levels, says Jeffers. It also trains you to keep your midsection stable while your arms and legs move.
How it goes: Lie face up with both legs raised, knees bent 90 degrees and placed directly over hips. Place left hand on right knee and drive towards each other to create tension. Extend arm straight up, hand in line with shoulder. This is your starting position. Keep your spine in a neutral position to the floor and grab your shoulders toward the floor. Extend your left leg straight and lower it to the floor. At the same time, stretch your right arm overhead and lower it to the floor as well. Keep left hand and right knee together. Pause, then return to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then switch sides.
2. Heel tap with dumbbell grip
Why it works: This exercise translates directly to horseback riding because it requires core stabilization while you’re moving your hips, Jeffers says.
How it goes: Lie face up, both legs elevated, knees bent 90 degrees and placed directly over hips and hands stretched straight up, dumbbell in each hand over shoulder. This is the starting position. Keep your spine in a neutral position to the floor and grab your shoulders toward the floor. Engage your core and lower your left heel toward the floor while keeping your knee bent. Tap the floor with your heel and then raise yourself back to the starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then switch to the right leg.
3. Inchworm-to-Plank Knee Drive
Why it works: Not only does this move target your obliques, which helps you avoid rotations during a ride, but it also provides a dynamic stretch for the hamstrings, Jeffers says.
How it goes: Stand on your feet with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward at the waist to touch your toes, then lower your hands into a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and body forming a straight line from head to heels. Bring your right knee toward your right elbow, then step back into plank position. Bring your left knee toward your left elbow, then step back into plank position. Repeat for one more repetition on each side. Then, bring your hands back to your feet and stand up. Repeat for 1 minute.
4. Split stance reverse chop
Why it works: This is a rotational motion that works the lower half while working internal and external obliques, one side at a time, Jeffers says.
How it goes: Holding a dumbbell in both hands, step back with your left foot, keeping your heel lifted. Bend both knees about 90 degrees. Straighten your arms and hold the dumbbell to the right of your left hip. Twist the torso to the right and bring the arms straight up and overhead. Keep your hips and legs still. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to your left hip. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then switch sides.
5. Reverse climber
Why it works: This variation of the mountaineer will challenge your core strength while building additional strength in your glutes. It also teaches you to keep your hips stable through knee propulsion.
How it goes: Start sitting, legs straight, toes pointing toward the ceiling, hands on the floor behind you, and fingers pointing to the side. Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips, hold them tight, and then push your right knee toward your chest. Place it back into the reverse plank. Then drive the left knee towards the chest. Put it back in the reverse plank. Repeat for one more repetition on each side. Then lower hips back to floor, glutes floating. Repeat for 1 minute.
6. One leg balance with Y hold
Why it works: This is a great core stabilization exercise that strengthens the hip flexors and key muscle groups like the quads, calves, and glutes in the stabilizing leg, Jeffers says.
How it goes: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, and arms at your sides. Grip the core to raise both hands overhead so your arms are parallel to your ears and each other, forming a “Y” with both arms. Keeping your core engaged, lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee at a 90-degree angle. hold for 30 seconds. Then switch legs.
7. Dumbbell bike with press
Why it works: Adding weights to the traditional bike crunch will definitely fire up your core muscles. The press also targets the shoulders, reinforcing oblique work.
How it goes: Lie face up, feet elevated, with your knees directly over your hips. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your shoulders. Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. This is the starting position. Extend the right leg and rotate the torso to the left, pushing the right weight straight up and across the body to the left. Return through the center, bend the right knee again and lower the weight. Extend your left leg, twist your torso to the right, and push your left hand straight up and to the right. Alternately further. Repeat for 1 minute.
8. Sprinter sit-up
Why it works: Get your core going with this sit-up variation. According to Jeffers, this move is perfect for cyclists because it mimics familiar movement patterns.
How it goes: Lie face up on the mat, legs stretched out and arms at your sides. Engage the core to sit up as you bring your right arm forward and bring your left leg to your chest. Lower your back to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternately for 1 minute.
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