Friday, 7 May 2010
Tip 3 Womens Triathlete Professional Cycling Core Training Workout
Every woman triathlete needs to be aware of their "core" muscles and how to correctly train them to generate the most power in the most efficient manner for the cycle part of a triathlon.
We often hear people talking about training the body's core muscles for most sports, what they are referring to generally are the muscles that stabilize the lower back and pelvis front and back. Research has shown us that there is a distinct relationship between the mechanics of cycling and the stability of the core muscles.
If your core is weak and your pelvis is not properly aligned and stabilized, therefore not maintaining your spine's natural curvature, you will not be able to maximize the power you produce to the main muscles used for cycling.
No matter how much or how well you have trained your legs for your triathlon event, if you are not maximizing your power output because your pelvis is not properly aligned due to core fatigue from the huge strain of a long cycling event, your results will suffer, especially as your core muscles are going to have already taken a beating during your swim.
So how can a lady triathlete make sure that her core muscles are properly trained and ready for triathlon cycling?
Many trainers will tell you to do lots of crunches, and while the crunch is a great exercise, they are not the answer to this particular problem. For a woman cyclist crunches will not increase the stability of their pelvis enough for what is needed.
When you are cycling, your back has no support, on the other hand when you do crunches you are lying on the floor, and this is the fundamental problem with relying solely on crunches as a core workout.
Below are three exercises that will help any woman triathlete gain more pelvic stabilization and increase the overall endurance of their core muscles, and therefore improve their cycling power output and increase their overall pace.
This first exercise is done without your bike. You should perform climbs at different speeds, start slowly and then once you get the hang of them build up to a speed close to the cadence of your cycling.
Start in a position as though you are going to do some push-ups. Slowly bring your right knee up to your left elbow and back, and then bring your left knee up to your right elbow and back.
You have to make sure that you keep you arms locked at the elbow so they do not bend, also make sure that you breathe deeply and keep your stomach tight all the time, and that your hips are kept low to the ground. This is the reason why you need to start out slowly and build up the speed only once you get the technique down.
2. Body cable twists.
This exercise requires that you use a cable machine, this brings outside resistance to your routine, which is very important to correctly train your core muscles.
Start by gripping the cable pulley with a single grip attachment with both hands, as though they are clasped together over the bar attachment handle.
Start with the cable at full extension just up above your left shoulder, with your arms straight. Pull the cable without bending your arms from the left shoulder down to past your right hip, but as you bring it down, twist your torso to the right so the oblique side muscles are doing most of the work.
Do 15 reps at a low weight to begin with, then do the same for the other side. Correct form is important, remember this is a workout for your torso, not your arms, so make sure the right muscles are doing the work. Do 3 sets.
This may seem like a strange exercise for cycling, but you need some resistance in your cycle training to replace the natural resistance of the bike. This exercise is a two for one, because it is great for working on your your hip rotation for swimming.
Force transmission from the core to the lower body requires endurance and strength, and this exercise will help you get through the fatigue build up from road friction and get through your race.
3. Rock Stomach
This is an exercise that actually involves the use of your bike, it can be done outside or on an indoor climber.
Find a good sized hill, and then ride up it in the standing position. As you drive your knees, take deep breaths from your stomach, and try and visualize it as rock hard. You should feel your stomach muscles contracting every time a knee goes up above the top tube of the bike, you must also concentrate on keeping your core muscles tight and also not to "bounce" on your handlebars as you are doing it.
It will take time before you see any improvements in your cycling using these exercises, but you should start seeing results in less than 6 weeks if you do them twice a week all year round.
Building a stronger core will increase force transmission to the lower regions of your body, your entire body trunk will have more natural support and also help support your neck, upper back and shoulders when resting.
Do not do these exercises less than two days before competing because it will tire you out and give you sore muscles going into a race, which is what you definitely do not want.
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