Musings on the Cycling Core (our new online program!)
Last week, I excitedly buckled down and finished + launched a long-awaited online core program for cyclists that I created with Brian Beatty, PT and Ben Turits at Endurance Collective. This is a 4 routine, 8-10 week online plan geared toward riders of all levels and abilities.
Hang on a minute — I know that one-size-fits-all thing sounds suspect. But I really mean it: whether you’re just learning to clip in or regularly standing on the top step of the podium at pro races — this program teaches you how to be more stable, powerful, balanced, and yes – faaaster! – on the bike.
Read on if you’re interested in the nitty gritty. Y’all know how I can wax on about this stuff for days! Well… maybe not quite as much as Brian 😉 But nevertheless…
Though we use the term “core strength”, this is really a set of cycling-specific neuromuscular control & learning routines. We all know how easy it is to fall into the “git er done” trap when it comes to core training. A few minutes here and there, oftentimes while surfing instagram, hanging out in quasi-plank texting memes to our friends, or just zoning out and thinking about what’s for dinner. And that’s if we’re doing it at all.
I do believe most of the time this way of “doing core” is often still better than doing nothing at all, but we easily run the risk of simply cementing our chronic imbalances and compensations when we work in this way. We’re missing out on a pretty cool opportunity to actually make positive changes.
Our goal with this program is to give bicycle riders a super clear, cycling-specific understanding about the purpose of training your core in a focused, time-efficient way. We talk about concrete goals (i.e., minimizing hips rocking on the saddle, the ability to control your upper body and hips when climbing or sprinting, so you can put #alldemwatts to their intended use…) and we SHOW you how to achieve them.
In each move, we clearly explain the intended stabilizing muscle groups that often need a little “wake up call” (don’t be alarmed, but there’s a good chance they’ve been a bit dormant for years!) That’s okay, though. It doesn’t mean you’re not a fast, fit, strong AF cyclist. And it sure as heck doesn’t mean you’re “weak”. Your brain and nervous system are incredible, and it’s completely possible to learn to fire new, more efficient muscle patterns quickly… really surprisingly quickly – no matte how old or set in your ways you are. (Trust me: my #1 all time personality flaw is impatience, so if I’m saying this — you gotta believe it.
So — we break it down for you. In each move, we actually *show* you how to wake up those sleepy muscles. It starts simple (challenging, but simple) and then advances, ending with exercises that are designed to mimic how you **actually control movement on the bike!** Some of those fancy insta core workouts look enticing, but if it’s not helping you ride — you might be just spending 20 minutes just making cool shapes. (I’m not knocking any shape-making-breakdancing-acroyoga-cyclists out there. MAD respect.)
Another benefit: by working this way, you actually straight-up LEARN how to feel and self-correct the imbalances that are unique to your OWN BODY. Because you’re a special snowflake, y’know it? ❄️ And you know those naggy lil’ compensations we’re all sooo good at hiding… until we hit the pavement at 30mph, have a crappy week at work, get sick or heartbroken or overloaded and try to do too much to soon, and… suddenly those things aren’t so easy to hide anymore, now are they?
This work is going to make you better. You’ll feel like you have a magical pair of hands pushing you up the hills (shout out to #glutemed, not the creepy guy on a random group ride who pushed you without asking), you’ll feel like you can squeak out a few more watts on the local fast group ride sprint, and you’ll find those naggy little aches and pains you thought were normal just… slowly… disappearing. You’ll be prepared to move on after your ride to whatever the rest of the day holds — from kid duties to household or garden putzin’ to hours in front of a computer or other “devices”. (No judgment here. You got your ride and your core in — you deserve the goldest of stars🌟)
The routines are low-load, so they can be done at any point in the season, or as a “reset” for riders after a crash or a particularly grueling training block. And you never really “graduate” from this, either — in fact it kinda gets more challenging the more skilled you become.
But, hey, we’re cyclists. We love stuff like that. And I’m stoked on the idea of tricking y’all (and myself) to focus on the work that really matters, to put out the effort and consistency of practice that matters, to do the hard stuff that *matters*.
$20 gets you in for the full 10 week program. Join us!
Categories: Articles, Core Corner, Cycling Resources, Fitness and Strength Exercises, Zanna's Blog