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Core Corner – Side Plank, Pedaling Top Leg

By Elizabeth Towe

A critical component of cycling is allowing an efficient circular path of the leg while having a stable core. In this exercise you challenge both the elements of a controlled circle of the leg and a stable core. The goal is to develop efficient power to the pedals that your does not disrupt the stability of your body over the bike. This exercise is complementary to the article Developing Pedaling Efficiency.

 

Exercise:

  • Begin on your side, elbow directly under you shoulder, knee bent, and your body aligned straight from your knee to your head.
  • Brace your core and lift your pelvis and torso up into a side plank position using the gluteal muscles in the back of the hip.
  • Lift your top leg slightly off the bottom leg and find an alignment so that the thigh, shin and foot form a straight line.
  • “Pedal” the top leg, making a slow, smooth circle of the foot, coordinating the motions of the hip, knee, and ankle. Only the top leg moves, the rest of the body stays in place.
  • The circle should be just slightly in front of the bottom leg. Make the circle in the same size of your bike’s pedal path and the same amount forward of the hips as your pedals would be when on your bike.
  • Do 10-20 circles of one leg, then repeat on the other side.

Take note of where it is most challenging to hold a smooth circle and adjust for a smooth motion in those ranges of motion.

When you have mastered the movement on your forearm and knee, then try it in a full hand and foot support plank.

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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.