In part two of our blog series on yoga for cyclists, yoga for cyclists expert Lexie Williamson gives us some tips on how to improve our core. Over to Lexie!

Ditch the crunches; when did you ever ride a bike on your back? Flip over and make core work ‘functional’. For cyclists this means replicating the bike stance and keeping the torso stable while the limbs move.

A little core work will strengthen the abs, reinforcing the back and preventing a host of lower back issues; but the benefits don't stop there. You'll also be able to maintain correct posture (without abdominal support the body slumps as you tire, and the lower back and shoulders take the strain), create upper body stillness to minimise energy-sapping side-to-side body rocking as you pedal, and aid balance, especially when cornering and descending.

Here are 2 core techniques to get things kicked off. If your core is weak, start with the all fours ‘Table Top’ until you feel strong enough to graduate to Plank.


Stretch 1: Table Top

1) Start on all fours gazing downwards with the head in line with the spine.

2) Inhale and raise the right leg and left arm up while keeping your torso still.

3) Exhale and lower both back down, returning to all fours.

4) Repeat, moving from side to side, or hold on each side statically for five slow breaths.

- 10 reps (5 each side) x2


Stretch 2: Forearm Plank (With Optional Pedalling)

Forearm Plank mimics a cycling position on the drops. If it is too strong and you are buckling in the mid back, drop the knees to the floor and draw in the abdomen.

1) Lie face down and place the elbows under the shoulders. Position the forearms shoulder-width apart and parallel or interlink the fingers.

2) Turn the toes under and lift the knees off the floor.

3) Remain holding or play with the a pedaling variation:

4)‘Pedal’ the plank by lowering one knee to the floor at a time, either rapidly or slowly. Keep the rest of your body still.

- Hold for 60 seconds

And if these stretches have given you an appetite for more, Lexie's book 'Yoga for Cyclists' (from Bloomsbury Publishing) will enable you to extend your practice of yoga for cycling even further.

Lexie Williamson Yoga for Cyclists book cover

Lexie's book Yoga for Cyclists is available from Bloomsbury Publishing