Core Exercises for Runners, Triathletes, and Cyclists

°I told you guys in my last post that I am really working on my core right now. What that means is my cycling and triathlon training has taken a back seat until next week. Really, the plan is to start biking again next week for real. I am hopeful that my legs come back pretty quick because I haven’t been sedentary — I have been lifting and doing a ton of plyometrics to improve my strength. I feel like I am in the best shape I have been in going into a preseason.

One of the riding areas I improved on significantly in 2011 was my climbing. I felt like by the end of the year I could ride my bike up a 90° wall. I spent so much time riding up canyons and mountains that I didn’t get scared when I saw a hill coming up. Instead, it made me excited because I knew I could hang with anyone (except Rick LaBelle, but that is a story for another day) and if I was in a race, I felt like I could drop people on climbs. In my defense, Rick is a physical specimen. He really is amazing and it isn’t shameful to get beat by the guy.

One of my goals for 2012 is to be a better climber. This improvement will make be a better cyclisttriathlete, and runner. I love it when I hear triathletes, cyclists, and runners complain about a course after a race — it was too hilly, those hills killed me, or it was too windy. So I don’t become one of those whiners, I need to make improvements in areas that I may have negelected in the past. One of those areas is my core strength.

Don’t get me wrong, in the past I would do my crunches and back extensions, but that was about it. I was blind to the fact that there are so many other options available to make significant improvements to your core strength, which will help you maintain your good form later in races and decrease the chance for injury. Taking a pull in your group, grinding gears up a hill, and maintaining your position in your aerobars comfortably are all times when you will get the edge in a race or ride if you have a stronger core than your opponent.

There is no magic pill that will make your core stronger. If you want a strong core, it takes work. But that work does not have to be done in a gym. Sure it is great to have access to gym equipment to strengthen things like your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, but it is not necessary. I found a video on YouTube that is awesome. It shows five minutes of footage of a guy doing exercises that target his core that do not require equipment. Some of the exercises do require a pull-up bar, but outside of that, most of them are done without any type of gear. You don’t need to spend money to get a strong core.

Here is the video:

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...