Get a stronger core this winter with these plank exercises

As a cyclist, having a strong core is important for preventing injuries, maintaining form while you ride and helping you ride faster. When you have a strong and stable core, more of your energy will go to your legs to power the pedals. If your torso can remain better anchored to your saddle when seated, you’ll notice a big difference on the flats or climbing. This winter, why not up your core workout game with planks. By springtime, your body will thank you.

Of all the dozens of exercises cyclists can do to improve their core strength, the plank is perhaps the most popular. While the traditional plank is an excellent way to strengthen your core, doing the same thing over and over again eventually becomes less challenging and less effective. Try some of these variations on the popular exercise to keep your core routine from getting stale.

A beginner’s guide to core exercises for cyclists

Spider Plank

Starting in a traditional plank position with your elbows directly below your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your feet, lift your right foot off the ground and drive your knee toward the outside of your right arm. Return your foot to the ground, and repeat on the other side for 30 seconds to a minute. You can also perform this move from a straight-arm or high-plank position, with your hands flat on the ground, directory below your shoulders.

military plank

Begin in the high plank position, with your hands directly below your shoulders. Lower your right elbow to the ground, followed by your left, so you’re now in a low-plank position. Place your left hand back on the ground and push up, followed by your right, so you’re back in a high plank position. Repeat this up-and-down pattern for 30 seconds to a minute.

shoulder tap plank

Begin in a high plank position. Keeping your body still, take your right hand off the ground and tap your left shoulder. Return your right hand to the ground and repeat on the other side, alternating from side to side for 30 seconds to a minute.

Plank with arm raise

Begin in a high plank position. Keeping your torso still, raise one hand off the ground and extend your arm out in front of you. Return that hand to the ground and repeat on the other side, alternating for 30 seconds to a minute. To make this even harder, when you raise your arm in the air, trying to lift your opposite foot off the ground.

Plank walk-outs

Begin in a standing position. Bend down until your hands reach the floor (you can bend your knees if you have to), and walk out with your hands until your body is in a high plank position. Pause, then walk your hands back toward your feet until you’re standing again. To make this even harder, do a pushup every time you get into a plank position.

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