Off the bike training for racing / Strengthening the core



danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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The plank:



Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish show us how it's done.

The exercise can benefit everyone, but is especially useful for riders with a substantial drop between saddle and bars, or for riders needing to hold deep aerodynamic positions for any significant duration.


How to perform

1. Start by lying face down on a mat. Place your forearms on the mat with your shoulders aligned directly over your elbows.

2. Extend your legs behind you and rest on your toes, as if you are going to do a pushup. Your hips should not be lifted to the ceiling, nor should your back be arched.

3. Tighten your abdominal muscles to help you hold the position correctly, and hold it as long as you can. 20 seconds or so is fine to start with. When you begin to feel your lower back start to sag from fatigue, take a break, then get back into the proper position and hold the move once again.

4. Breathe evenly throughout the move. It's an easy mistake to try and hold your breath during the exertion, but it'll actually be easier if you focus on breathing evenly. Doing so sends vital oxygen to your muscles and helps them stay strong longer.

5. Feel your abdominal muscles working and getting fatigued as you hold the position. Challenge yourself to hold the position a little longer with each workout, and work toward holding it for 60 seconds at a time.


Always check with a doctor before performing strenuous exercise.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Cav looks like he's resting his knees and thinking of munching on bags of Walkers crisps and sitting on an old chair on a dodgy couch in Manchester.

Boonen looks like he's ready to smash the big ring up the Taaienberg at about 5 mph more than anyone else.
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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I was gonna say something about Cav doing the ladies version but wanted to keep the initial post somewhat serious.
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danfoz .
I was gonna say something about Cav doing the ladies version but wanted to keep the initial post somewhat serious.



I dont!
big-smile.png


Quote:
Originally Posted by swampy1970 .
Cav looks like he's resting his knees and thinking of munching on bags of Walkers crisps and sitting on an old chair on a dodgy couch in Manchester.

Go Cav!!!
big-smile.png


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swampy1970

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From what I've read, Cav's been doing a few weights and some serious sprint training.
 

dot

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Apr 28, 2003
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So ... it is a plank! Wow! No, it is a posh plank! By the way, the world record is about 40 min, there was a video with a woman doing 40 min plank, I saw it when I was trying to keep it as long as possible. Last summer I was able to keep it for 3-something minutes.

Kolobnev in his blog also said that's core training is quite a hype between pros and he spent over 20 hours (and rode 5200 km) in gym while training for three weeks somewhere south, Majorca I think.
 

Toolish

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May 20, 2013
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Originally Posted by dot
So ... it is a plank! Wow! No, it is a posh plank! By the way, the world record is about 40 min, there was a video with a woman doing 40 min plank, I saw it when I was trying to keep it as long as possible. Last summer I was able to keep it for 3-something minutes.

Kolobnev in his blog also said that's core training is quite a hype between pros and he spent over 20 hours (and rode 5200 km) in gym while training for three weeks somewhere south, Majorca I think.
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-8000/longest-time-in-an-abdominal-plank-position/
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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Forget world record planking, unless world record planking is your goal.

This exercise helps athletes with improving core strength in every discipline, not only the bike:

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I'm betting Ronda would put the hurt on just about every gent on this forum, easily. Mind you that is just my opinion.

Boys and girls, do your planks, and don't skimp. Btw, the gal in the video not skimping on her planks is Ronda Rousey, the youngest judoka (male or female) to ever enter the Olympic games, and 4 years later the first American woman to medal in Judo at the Olympics.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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From the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Australian National Sprint Cycling, Paul Rogers.

Quote: Upper body, we do two exercise per session (a push and a pull in the same plane of movement, different each day) in general prep and two per week in specific prep (both pulls) so they can keep hold of the handlebars in standing starts. The girls are starting to push themselves off the bike, their legs are so strong (around 3 @ 250kg on each leg for the girls and up to 350kg for the guys on SLP). Abs and core, we do two per session - one mainly flexion, one mainly extension. Some have rotational or lateral components, but not isometric holds or pilates mumbo jumbo. If their "core stability" is poor, they wouldn't be able to squat on one leg. Lying on the ground and waving your legs in the air doesn't transfer to the bike. That might annoy the physio's and guru's who make money out of Swiss balls and all that stuff, but I tried it for three years in 20 different sports and it didn't make any difference to performance or injury rates. They get really good at balancing on a ball, but there's no Olympic event for that. It doesn't transfer to the sport. Fix their technical problems in the actual technique (soapbox time is now over).

Paul was the strength and conditioning coach back when the Aussies dominated the Athens Olympics.
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by swampy1970
From the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Australian National Sprint Cycling, Paul Rogers.


Paul was the strength and conditioning coach back when the Aussies dominated the Athens Olympics.
I've read his blurb 5 times and I still can't visualize what he is saying... push/pull in the same plane of movement?... what does that even mean? Extension, flexion... roman chairs, crunches? Paul Rogers may know his stuff but in that case maybe someone should tell Cavendish and Boonen, two of the most winning cyclists the planet has ever seen, along with a universe of athletes outside of cycling, that isometric holds (in this case planks) are useless. I've lifted weights for decades, done literally thousands of crunches and roman chair extensions, but have found planks (along with "ab-roller" type exercises) to be far superior to helping with ab strength than sit-ups, leg raises, or crunches. I've never tried any balls though, maybe he's right about that.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Sprint cyclists would eat Cav and Tommeke for breakfast and spit them out the back in 5 pedal revs. A different beast entirely, the only common thing is that they ride a bicycle. Then again, a trackie wouldn't be anywhere close to the front of the bunch on a Tour de France stage.

Cav used to do a lot of track work (he's twice been Madison World Champion) and maybe the increase use of mumbo jumbo instead of track work has blunted his speed. Back then there was no planks and gym work. Maybe just getting older and having more miles in the legs has had that effect. But the lad has spirit and is always up for a fight and I dig that. I'll be screaming at the TV as always when he's up for the sprint that gets broadcast overhere.

Tom has always been a hard *******. There's no training for that - it's just an inherent property. Sure he could sprint but a lot of his big wins are just mammoth efforts on the cobbled bergs in Belgium that seemingly defy belief. Watching Tom on the Taaienberg is normally a wondrous thing. Massive gear, in the gutter, smashing the pedals and the souls of every other rider in the race. That he's just started doing planks - yeah, I'll pass judgment on that if he does another couple of Ronde and Roubaix doubles...
 

swampy1970

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Quote: Always check with a doctor before performing strenuous exercise.


I can just see this conversation happening in a few months.

Doc: So Mr Swampy, do you smoke?
Me: No.
Doc: Do you drink alcoholic beverages?
Me: F**k yes.
Doc: Do you do any aerobic activity? Walk around the block, stretch or do pilates?
Me: I rode 600km on my bike in a day a few weeks back with about 12,000ft of climbing, does that count?
Doc: *blank gaze*
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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So don't do any planks, problem solved. Personally speaking to stave off lower back issues I've had to keep my hams and piriformis stretched, and my core strong. I'm sure there's plenty of cyclists that haven't had to do either. But that's neither here nor there.
 

kopride

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May 17, 2006
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Planks and core training may or may not help cycling, but you can't say that core strength doesn't improve overall health and function. One of the benefits of having to get off the bike for a while was being forced to do other activities. I did a lot of yoga, and aside from the benefit of co-ed activity performed in your underwear or its equivalent, the overall health affects were awesome. I slept better, didn't wake up with all those creaks of middle age in the neck and back, because stronger, and more flexible. And putting aside the mumbo jumbo spirituality, yoga is lots of static holds and stretches, including planks.

Unless you are making your living cycling, which few of us are, then cycling should be part of an overall program to make you healthier. Lots of time on the bike with no other activity creates a real specialist, but not all our time is spent on the bike. When I started doing yoga, I realized how tight I had become in my hamstrings, how my calves could barely handle any real bouncing around on the balls of my feet, and how weak I was in certain core elements.

Some of the women I do yoga with have outrageously good figures and are just attractive overall. Long distance runners and competitive cyclists can be pretty one dimensional in their fitness. The same is true for men. This stuff will build long lean flexible muscles that look good
 

perky85

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Jul 4, 2014
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That's good to know the pro's are doing this too. I suffered from back pain when cycling on long rides over winter and came across some free core training programs on a website called coretrainingforsport.com. There were loads of different planks I never even knew existed and I downloaded 9 workouts for free.

You can download them here.

www.coretrainingforsport.com
 

Colnago62

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Nov 24, 2011
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I am going to try some of these. A wise guy (See what I did there?) once told me, "Try everything and then use what works for you".