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Don’t let a weak core frustrate all the hard work your legs do on the bike. Here’s how to make those important trunk muscles strong.
Core Strength Matters
Your bulging quads and razor-cut calves are the envy of your cycling pack, and you start every ride strong. As the ride progresses, though, your hips seesaw in the saddle, your lower back aches, and you slow in corners. The problem? Your core cries uncle long before your legs wear out. Although a cyclist’s legs provide the most tangible source of power, the core muscles—abs and lower back—are the vital foundation from which all movement, including the pedal stroke, stems.
“You can have all the leg strength in the world, but without a stable core you won’t be able to use it efficiently,” says Graeme Street, founder of Cyclo-CORE, a DVD-based training program, and a personal trainer in Essex, Connecticut. “It’s like having the body of a Ferrari with a Fiat chassis underneath.”
What’s more, a solid core will help eliminate unnecessary upper-body movement, so that all the energy you produce is delivered into a smooth pedal stroke.
Sadly, cycling’s tripod position, in which the saddle, pedals, and handlebar support your weight, relies on core strength but doesn’t build it. To develop your high-performance chassis, try this intense routine, designed by Street. It takes only about 10 minutes to complete and focuses on the transverse abdominus, the innermost abdominal muscle, which acts as a stabilizing girdle around your torso, and also on your lower back, obliques, glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors, so your entire core—and then some—becomes strong and works as a unit. You’ll notice that it skips the rectus abdominus, or six-pack muscle, because, says Street, “it’s the least-functional muscle for cycling.”
Do this intense routine, in this order, three times a week to create a core that lets you ride faster, longer, more powerfully—and finish stronger than ever.
1. Boxer Ball Crunch
What It Works: Transverse abdominus, obliques, lower back
Lie with the middle of your back on a stability ball, your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, but don’t pull on your neck.
Squeezing your belly button toward your spine, lift your upper back off the ball. Keeping your shoulders off the ball, trace a clockwise oval with your torso. Apply pressure with your lower back to keep the ball still through the entire motion. After 15 clockwise ovals, trace 15 counterclockwise.
Why It Works: Despite the straightforward motion of the bike, your body moves in three directions: forward as you head down the road, vertically as your legs pedal up and down, and laterally as your hips and upper body rock side to side. “This fluid, circular exercise builds control,” says Street, and that helps you minimize lateral torsion and wasted motion.
2. Power Bridge
What It Works: Hip flexors, glutes, lower back
Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your heels near your glutes. Arms are at your sides, palms down.
In one smooth motion, squeeze your glutes, raise your hips off the floor and push up from your heels to form a straight line from shoulders to knees; toes come off the floor slightly. Hold for two seconds. Keeping your toes raised, lower yourself three-quarters of the way to complete one rep. Do 20 repetitions.
Why It Works: In addition to stretching the hip flexors, often extremely stiff in cyclists, the bridge strengthens the link between your lower back and glutes.
3. Hip Extension
What It Works: Lower back, hamstrings, glutes
Lying with your hips and stomach on the stability ball, put your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, and extend your legs with toes resting on the floor.
With a straight spine and shoulder blades back, as if you’re trying to make them touch, lift both legs off the floor, keeping them straight. If possible, raise them slightly higher than parallel to the floor. Hold for two seconds and lower.
Do 20 reps.
Why It Works: This movement builds backside strength, for added efficiency on the second half of the pedal stroke.
What It Works: Transverse abdominus, upper and lower back
Lying on your stomach, place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms and hands on the floor.
Lift your hips off the floor, keeping your back straight and abs tight, and rest on your toes. Aim for 60 seconds.
Why It Works: The plank builds the strength and muscular endurance you need to ride powerfully in the drops or in an aero position long after others have surrendered to the top of the handlebar.
5. Transverse Plank
What It Works: Transverse abdominus and obliques
Lie on your right side, with your right elbow under your shoulder, forearm in front for stability, and stack your left foot on your right. Raise your left arm over your head.
In one motion, lift your hips to create a straight line down your left side. Lower your hips a few inches off the floor; do 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.
Why It Works: Strong obliques improve your stability in the saddle, letting you take on hairpin corners with more control and speed.
6. Scissors Kick
What It Works: Transverse abdominus, hip flexors, inner and outer thighs
Lying on your back with legs straight, place both hands palms down under your lower back.
Pushing your elbows down into the floor and pulling your belly button toward your spine, raise your shoulders off the floor and look toward the ceiling. Raise your legs 4 inches off the ground and scissor them: left leg over right, then right over left. That’s one rep. Work up to 100.
Why It Works: A comprehensive movement that connects key cycling muscles, the kick also builds inner-thigh muscles, which help you achieve hip, knee and forefoot alignment for a proper and efficient pedal stroke.
What It Works: Entire core
Sitting with a slight bend in your knees, press your heels against the floor. Extend arms to the front at shoulder height, palms facing each other.
With a straight spine and upward gaze, inhale deeply, then exhale and slowly lower your torso to the floor over five counts as you inhale. Arms are overhead.
In one smooth movement, leading with the arms, exhale and explode back to the starting position. Do 20 reps.
Why It Works: Contrary to its name, the catapult encourages supreme body control.
8. Boat Pose
What It Works: Transverse abdominus, lower back
Sit, resting both hands lightly behind you, and lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle.
Keeping your legs together, lift them off the floor as you extend arms forward at shoulder height. Abs are tight, as thighs and torso form a 90-degree angle. If your hamstrings are tight, you’ll need to bend your knees a little. Work up to holding for 60 seconds.
Why It Works: As with the plank, this pose builds the lower-back stability and core strength needed to remain bent over the handlebar for hours, or to blast up hills without compromising power or speed.
One of my favorite articles to share with “newby’s” because it will make you laugh until you cry…
By Christina H.
A lot of people don’t find bike riding very impressive as a sport, because how hard can it be? Little kids learn how to ride bikes before they learn how to tie their shoes (which is a little dangerous if you think about it).
Well, I started riding to get in shape recently and learned that there’s a big difference between bike riding and serious bike riding. Doing all the things “right” according to the pros seems at times like a terrible initiation prank designed to kill or embarrass new riders. I can only conclude that there are a limited number of slots in the Real Bicyclists Club and they are dedicated to keeping applicants out by making them deal with things like this…
You Can Kill Yourself Just Getting On (if You Do it Right)
Sit on your bike seat. Can you put one foot down on the ground? YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. That’s what they told me anyway.
Common sense tells you that when you come to a stop on your bike, you want to be able to quickly put a foot down so you don’t, you know, fall over.
But apparently that’s crazy talk. You’re actually supposed to be able to fully extend your leg when the pedal is all the way down, to get full use of your leg muscles, because pedaling with your knees always bent is like duck-walking a footrace — you’re not fully using your muscles, and the other racers will laugh heartily at you.
And if you get on the normal way, swinging your leg over the seat with the bike tilted toward you, and then lean upright to get underway, well, a road bike in particular is liable to turn as you get on, because it’s sensitive, and you steer by leaning left and right. So you can find yourself turning into traffic, or maybe the curb, which never turns out well.
So how are you supposed to get off and on? Well, you’re supposed to straddle the crossbar, then put one foot on one of the pedals, and push the bike forward, picking up your other foot, like you’re on a scooter. You’re supposed to go from ground to scooter position to sitting on the seat, to get on, and the opposite to get off, which is easy to do with a bit of practice, but who the hell is going to remember an orderly series of steps 1-2-3 when you’re about to ride into an obstacle and you hit the brakes?
Not me! I prefer an unexpected crotch full of crossbar apparently.
Your Feet are Stuck to the Bike
What if people are too wily to fall off their bikes just because you raised their seats? Well, the cycling community has just the thing to deal with them, toe clips. Clips that hold your feet to the pedals, whether you like it or not.
“What if the rider can’t get their foot off in time because it’s actually fastened to the pedal with something that looks like an S&M torture device?” one of the Real Bicyclist Club members no doubt proposed one day, to resounding applause. And so toe clips were born.
Most serious bicyclists wouldn’t dream of using toe clips, however, and have special clipless pedals that lock onto special cleats on special bike shoes.
They’ll talk like toe clips and cleats are completely different things even though it’s quite obvious to a terrified clumsy person like me that they both attach your feet to the freakin’ pedals.
Of course they’ve come up with an excuse for this, which is efficiency. With a regular bike pedal, you only push down. Strapping your feet in with those deathtraps allows you to also pull the pedals up, giving you extra power, at the cost of immortality. If you’re riding in a group and everyone else has them, you’re liable to get left behind.
I personally don’t care, I’m not attaching my feet to anything. I’ll go lift some freakin’ weights and get 50% stronger than everyone else if that’s what I have to do to keep up. A week doesn’t go by where I don’t hear someone’s horror story about being clipped in and falling over their handlebars and breaking their ankle or seeing their shinbone or something equally charming.
Bonus: The bike shoes you have to wear to attach the cleats often have solid pieces of plastic or carbon fiber as soles, so if you enjoy ice skating across a dry parking lot, you will enjoy these.
Embarrassing Ass Products
Anyone who’s ever been on a bike more than five minutes (after puberty) knows that biking makes your ass hurt.
Fortunately they’ve invented entire lines of products to deal with that. Unfortunately these products are somewhat humiliating. The first thing every bicyclist needs is padded bike shorts, with more and more specialized crotch padding over the years:
I’m not the only one who has the vague feeling I’m looking at something obscene here, right? Oh, and you go commando. That disturbingly shaped pad goes right up against your special parts.
All the padding in the world doesn’t do anything about the fact that some of your parts just need space. Nothing can be done for your balls, if you have them, but there are apparently many veins and tubes and nerves both men and women have down there that are very bad to squish.
So to fix that, you can ride on a stupid looking seat with a hole in the middle:
If that’s still not enough (and it won’t be), you’ll need chamois butter (which is a delicate term for “ass cream.”)
They come with oddly appropriate brand names like “Chamois Butt’r,” “Assos” (a general cycling supplier whose name happens to fit this one product surprisingly well), “Udderly SMOOth” and “Bag Balm” brands of ass cream that anyone would be proud to ring up at the counter.
So yeah, if the certainty of falling off your bike doesn’t scare you, junior, why don’t you just lube up your ass, put on some disturbing-looking shorts, and hop up on that donut seat. You see what I mean? They are totally just waiting to see when you will catch on.
If you’re a man, it gets worse. Not only does the seat feel like it’s destroying your balls, it might actually be destroying your balls. Heavy-duty riding over a long period of time compresses your perineum — also known as the “taint” or “gooch” for people who like to giggle while talking about serious medical problems.
That compresses a vital channel inside your chode, a channel which is actually known to actual doctors as Alcock’s canal. That canal houses a nerve and an artery that allows you to both get boners and put them to use. If you constantly pinch it by riding the Tour de France or something, then you will pitch no more tents.
Researchers estimate this affects 5% of male cyclists who will admit it, plus a larger percentage of male cyclists who are too embarrassed to admit they’ve neutered themselves.
Bike seats exist that are easier on your grundle, and suppliers are constantly inventing more taint-friendly seats, but very few seats are completely innocent of attempting to gradually castrate their riders.
And what about something that both genders are interested in, for different reasons – lady parts? Well, just like with men, biking too much can lead to numbness in a lady’s special area which is certainly not a good thing, but doesn’t seem to cause actual sexual dysfunction. So there’s that.
The Clothes Are Designed to Make You Look Stupid
Biking clothes on anybody are like shaved heads on women. If you are really good looking to begin with (Natalie Portman) then you still look good, but not as good as you did before.
If you are not super hot to begin with, you will look like a douche.
If you look at any rack of biking jerseys, it looks like a clown wardrobe. There are a couple of reasons for the bright colors cars almost never look for bicyclists on purpose, so you have to stand out like a sore thumb to be safe.
I’m not sure what the pros’ excuse is, they close the roads off for them.
The other reason for the colors is that due to practical design, all the clothes look pretty much the same they need to be tight to minimize wind resistance and not get caught in things so the only way to stand out as an individual is with offensive color combinations.
As terrified as I am about safety, I still wear a black jersey. If I die, at least I’ll die fashionable and dignified.
Tacky tops aside, bike shorts are terrible in their own way. If you invented a piece of clothing to humiliate people, you could hardly do better. Normal-looking women suddenly look like they have giant T-rex hips, and men get to show everyone their package (before wrecking it on their seat).
Well now that I’ve gone to all the trouble to show that this is clearly some kind of terrible hazing ritual, why on earth am I still biking? After all, I’m a lifelong couch potato and I’m afraid of everything. I’m afraid of fire, knives, heights, going fast, jellyfish, Taiwanese home cooking, you name it.
I’m still going to avoid most of those things but you can’t spend your life avoiding everything you’re afraid of. I like going outside, getting in shape, seeing beautiful scenery, and if I’m going to let the thought of falling off the bike and being dragged down an asphalt road at 40 miles per hour stop me from enjoying the things I- oh man. I feel kind of faint, I think I need to go lie down.
Actually, one of the reasons I’m riding is to raise money to fight cancer.
Wow, I enjoyed all the prior speakers and the pastor with his beautiful, heartfelt prayer. They hit all the high lights. I must begin by thanking God for blessing me in abundance of portions of immeasurable proportions;
I thank God for joining us together today to unite as one in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will elaborate a little on why we are here on such a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. First, I would like to begin by praying with and for you in my Native tongue of Cherokee….
Thank you for indulging me in prayer because I believe we must remember to always put God first.
I was originally asked to speak at two other March for Trump events, first in Springfield, Illinois, the cradle of Abraham Lincoln.
My opening was going to be something like, almost everyone, including Democrats, would include Lincoln as one of their three favorite Presidents. By no means, do I consider myself as a Historian, but Lincoln would certainly make my list, as well as Ronald Reagan.
With that said, I expect and anticipate that President Trump will become the greatest President in history as for me President Trump is already on my number one President of all time and his stunning wife is most certainly our classiest and most beautiful First Lady ever with Jackie Kennedy as my favorite before the beautiful Melania and I would like to share why I choose Mr. Trump as my favorite President, it is because in 2009 I was invited to NY to have lunch with Donald and everyone thought I was crazy for believing this was true let alone it could happen to me.
I went with 3 objectives:
1. Take a picture with Mr. Trump
2. Get his autograph
3. Get a testimonial for my website from the greatest business man of all time
I would have been happy with even one of these and he gave me so much more, he answered my questions and even made ample time for the more than 30 people in the room to fulfill their request and dare I say their dreams. I witnessed him give money to what appeared to be a homeless person with a joyous heart and buy coffee for a construction crew that wasn’t even working on one of his projects.
This is the integrity and character of a man who cares about our homeless, a man who’s very definition is to protect and serve by putting the needs of others above his own. This is the man I met and know.
I firmly believe he will lead us to put America First and make America Great Again.
The next event was to be the premier event held in Washington, D.C., where there was even hope that President Trump and his beautiful wife our First Lady might attend.
I was excited for this and in talking to a friend he said there will be a lot more pressure on you in DC with probably a lot more people and you will speaking on a different subject than you normally do.
My response was “Bring it On because diamonds are created under pressure and I love a good challenge”.
I then learned that Oklahoma City was to host an event and my excitement overwhelmed me because it flooded my soul with memories of Sunday morning after church sitting on the church steps with lemonade and the ever-popular fried chicken legs talking with my friends. I just knew I had to be switched to Oklahoma so I could share time with my family in each of you.
A little background on myself is I live in gratitude because I had to fight my way into this world not once, not twice but three times as my mother attempted to abort me three times.
I was knew that I disposable and only wanted when I was convenient and my message here is that you matter, each of you are valuable, and loved because God loves you and I love you.
In growing up in Indian territory and attending schools where I only spoke Cherokee until I was 10 years old I also learned that your success is in direct proportion to your contribution, I learned I am a giver.
In my early career I wasn’t familiar with many business leaders, but I had heard of Donald Trump.
My first introduction to President Trump was when I was involved with one of those multi-level marketing companies where everyone’s goal was to drive a pink Cadillac you know the one.
An early part of that process was to create a “vision board” with an “I” story, My ‘I’ story was to meet Donald Trump and ask him one quality question within 5 years, I met that schedule ahead of deadline by 2 years another example that God really does answer your most passionate prayers.
I have no idea why I was chosen for this most prestigious honor because I am just a little girl from Tahlequah, the backwoods of Punkin’ Holler in a tiny little place in the middle of nowhere on the way some somewhere in a home with dirt floors and a place where no one ever sees “you,” the you that is crying to come out, all the while knowing it’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that no one can see but you and realizing through God’s design this the only way to find your direction and today is proof that dreams really do come true and for this I thank you.
One reason perhaps is because I have supported Trump from the moment that I heard that he was running for president, before it was even official, I have supported him through the many threats that my family received through the Native American community because of my unwillingness to back down and my family stood by me in my decision.
My father who always supports my decisions with great enthusiasm had even told me that if I back down because of threats then I am certainly not the daughter that he raised because he raised me to stand up for what I believe in, he taught me to be strong, tenacious, and he taught me that a decision means to sever, to cut off, leaving no other option or alternative so when you make a decision it means you stand up even if it means you stand alone, And there were many times within my Native American community where I did feel that I was standing alone, actually that’s not true, for how could I be standing alone when I have God before me and my father beside me.
Outside of my Native American community I have had many friends that disagreed with my support, I have had many friends that we simply agreed to disagree and I appreciate each one of them for that because I believe we learn from each other.
I believe much of the resistance across the entire nation comes from and unfounded fear that as we rebuild our economy there will be many cutbacks on financial assistance.
And while I strongly believe in a hand up I do not believe in a handout and there is a huge difference. These handouts and many other govt. handouts are wrong and should be eliminated or reformed. People need to realize that our country is like an individual that is bankrupt or so close that they can feel it like a train wreck.
Our country does not have an unlimited black card, more like an ordinary credit card that is about to be rejected at the checkout counter over a piece of bubblegum.
We have a national debt of almost twenty trillion dollars, which is one of the main reasons why China has or is about to surpass us as the major power in the world and other countries have little or no respect for us, understandable so.
We must make many changes, none of which will be easy or popular, such as how to get our entitlement programs, like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid back on sound economic ground.
I did not vote for Obama nor did I vote for Hillary and did not agree with most of their agenda but I did support him during his term and would have supported her because of the position because I was raised that even if you do not like the person you must respect their position, I had hoped that he would began to solve some of our problems during his 8 year term, that did not happen.
The two huge issues I would put at the top of my personal list would be protecting our Country and turning our economy around.
To me, any President’s first priority should be to protect its citizens, both from within and outside our territory. My personal opinion is the prior administration from former President Obama, the Attorney Generals, Secretary of States, on down did a poor job of this.
I applaud President Trump for his beginning to rebuild our military and appointing cabinet members who will help protect us and keep us safe. Our local sheriff and police departments overwhelmingly voted for Trump and for this I am grateful. By the way, I’m pleased that the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruett is a fellow Oklahoman, I would expect major changes in that area.
I realize my other priority of turning around our economy covers a myriad of issues like the national debt, Obamacare, jobs and dollars going overseas, high corporate and individual tax rates, bank derivatives, etc. I think the commitments from some of our prominent corporations to add jobs, build facilities here rather than abroad and cut costs on some defense projects was a huge step in the right direction. The positive gains in our financial markets since the election is another indicator. One statistic I absolutely love was that in the first month of the prior administration our national debt increased 200 Billion dollars compared to the reductions of 12 billion dollars the first month of President Trump’s administration.
With that being said, all I ask is for all the naysayers, specifically and including the media, to give our great President Trump that same respect and support that we gave the previous administration.
Keep in mind, President Trump has only been in office less than 2 months and has made exponential progress already.
I firmly believe President Trump will lead us to put God first, the American people as his priority and make America Great Again.
My goal in this speech isn’t to solve the many Issues our nation faces as that is not my job, rather to focus on society’s responsibility as a whole to keep those individuals whose job it is to solve these problems results focused and focus driven. Both parties, republicans and democrats, have been guilty of complacency and merely kicking the can down the road.
Without even thinking about it, I can list 7or 8 major problems such as terrorism, immigration, health care, infrastructure, our international relationships, drug issues, education, our overload of regulations, etc. I am certain you can probably think of at least two or three others that you could add to that list.
Is it really too much to ask one person to totally solve all these major issues? Of course it is, however, its not too much to ask him including our Congressional delegates, and our state leaders to get started working on resolving them.
The best way to accomplish this is for each one of us, as individuals and collectively, to do our part by working together, coming together across the great divide, and be willing to compromise and learn from each other as we all share a common goal.
I’m proud to be from Oklahoma for many reasons, one being conservatives while still becoming more and more progressive. I know that you are already aware that our two United States Senators and all five Congressmen, including MarkWayne Mullen, who we are so honored to have with us today, and our Governor are all Republicans.
I knew that Trump would easily carry Oklahoma, but was pleased that he got 65.3% of the vote, carried all 77 counties, with Cimarron County in the Panhandle having the highest percentage% of 83%. There were only two states that had a higher percentage% of Trump votes than Oklahoma.
In closing I would remind each of us that we have played a part in electing President Trump, but it’s not just a matter of handing the ball over to Trump and our elected officials and standing back and watching. We need to stay committed, keep them in our prayers, and let them know we support them and their efforts.
Please keep in mind that everything we are praying for won’t get done in six months. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and there will be some compromises as there is strong opposition and we can create a favorable transition if we choose to love them through it and remember it is always better to follow a great example than to lead by ignorance, personally, I choose to follow the example of Christ Jesus and love them through gratitude and forgiveness.
With that being said, I am asking us to each love each other, accept each other, even agree to disagree because in the big picture we all want the same things, to be loved, to matter, and to live with passion.
Let us all continue to keep President Trump and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
God bless President Trump and his humble family, God bless America and God bless each and every one of you and your beautiful families. I love you.
If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive.
Armani custom designed gown valued at $100,000,… Harry Winston, Chopard bracelet cuff valued at 500,000,… As for me I am just a child of God the one true king, a little girl from Tahlequah who grew up on dirt floors always keepng my trust in Christ Jesus and keeping my eyes fixed on God knowing he always provides me with his grace.
Do you want to know how to become successful? It’s easy.
Turn your dream into your goal. Plant it deep in your heart, then for as long as it takes, eat, sleep, breathe, laugh, and cry without ever taking your eye off your goal.Not even for a second. An obstacle is what you see when you take your eye off of the goal…
Don’t be limited by your past, satisfied with your present or uncertain about your future: Define Your Prime. Take the reins on your life today and everyday!
Dream so big it scares you and watch it happen right before your eyes. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you. Mine was a dream that nobody saw but me and every time I shared my dream others would say be realistic… realistic is for the ordinary who are willing to settle, I dream the impossible because God makes it possible… Only then it becomes real…”
I gave you a shout out Johnna Kelley, Dee Martin Gauthier, Chris Silva and everyone for making tonight possible and special in this video as I chased someone down to take my pictures and even WhoSay, Getty Images and others were generous to take a few pictures of me with my phone … Experience one of the most coveted events “the Oscars” 2017.