By Elizabeth Towe
We all have different objectives when we take our bikes out on the road. Some of us want to go longer, some of us want to go faster. The common thread with either objective is a strong core and efficient pedal stroke. We want to refine a stable core while allowing the legs to move freely in a reciprocal motion without disturbing the balance of the body. This variation of plank is an excellent exercise for developing balance and control on the bike. This will allow the legs move efficiently and focus on delivering smooth power to the pedals.
- Start with your hands on a bench or chair, with your shoulders directly over your hands, and both knees on an exercise ball. Be sure and bring the shoulder blades down and back to find the stable position of the shoulder, as you would on your bike. (shoulders away from ears!)
- Shift the body smoothly as one unit so that one knee is balanced over the top of the ball, extend the other leg straight out behind you.
- While holding the core stable and your leg out behind, use the leg on the ball to roll the ball in a straight line in toward your hands and out away from your hands.
- For added challenge, as the ball goes away bring the leg in the air in by flexing the hip and knee. As the ball comes in, extend the leg in the air out, match the opposing motions of the legs while holding the pelvis, core and shoulders stable.
- Be mindful of keeping your pelvis stable and “quiet” (no shifting, tilting or tucking). Drive the movement from the hip while keeping spine stable and deep core muscles engaged.
- Do this 10-15 times on each leg, 2-3 sets. Enjoy your new, smooth pedal stroke!
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Elizabeth Towe is a runner and a cyclist and the owner of Balanced Movement Studio in Carrboro. She graduated from East Carolina with a degree in exercise and sports science and has been personal training for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal for all of her clients is to help them realize and achieve the optimal quality in their life – and to remember to have fun doing it.