Core training is one of those subjects I could probably do an article on every month and riders would still want to learn more. By now almost everyone realizes that without a strong, injury resistant core it is impossible to be the best mountain biker you can. Luckily core training has come a long way over the last few years and we now know that there is a lot more to it than just doing some crunches and planks.
In this month’s training feature I wanted to share 4 more core training exercises that I use in my programs to help riders develop not only a strong core, but ability to apply that core strength in a way that will help them on the trail. Being able to create movement around a solid core and resist twisting and bending is what we need as mountain bikers and these 4 exercises will help you do just that.
Since I use a lot of different training implements in my facility I will show you a sandbag, kettlebell, dumbbell and bodyweight core training exercise, giving everyone something that can try out and use. These 4 exercises present a challenge for even the strongest riders so if your looking for something to take you core training to the next level look no further.
Sandbag: High Plank or Push Up with Lateral Pull – This exercise has you either holding a High Plank or performing a Push Up and then pulling a sandbag laterally across the floor under your chest. This exercise is great for teaching you how to resist rotation through the hips which is important for stronger, more efficient pedaling.
Kettlebell: Half Kneeling Halos – This exercise has you get down on one knee holding a kettlebell “bottoms up” and then bringing the kettlebell around your head and back to the starting position in front of your chest. This exercise is great for teaching us how to balance and stay strong in a modified split stance position, which is important for building stability when standing up in the attack position on the bike with either foot forward, i.e. being able to ride switch foot effectively.
Dumbbells: Single Leg Renegade Rows – The Renegade Row, or Plank Row, is actually a pretty popular exercise where you get into a High Plank position with your hands resting on dumbbells placed on the ground and then rowing each dumbbell up one at a time. This version takes the core demands to another level by having you balance on one hand and the opposite leg as you row the other arm up, which forces you to stay much tighter through the core. This exercise is another great one for teaching you how to resist rotation through the hips and core and also how to create a stronger platform for muscling your bike up and over obstacles on the trail.
Bodyweight: Inchworms – This exercise has you bend over, place your hands on the ground and then walk your hands out as far as you can before walking your feet back up to your hands. This exercise requires a lot of core strength to resist letting the belly sag towards the ground as you walk out and the further out you can get your hands the higher the core demands. This exercise is great for building core strength, upper back strength and hip mobility, all things that we need to ride with maximum control and flow on the trail.
You can see a video demo of these exercises in action below: