What it tests:
This exercise assesses stability and fluidity of movement, as well as muscular imbalances between the various core muscles.
Lie down on the floor, face up. Keeping your pelvis on the floor, and lift your torso and legs into a “V” shape. Return slowly to the floor without allowing your heels or shoulder blades to touch the floor, and repeat. If this movement strains the low back, place your elbows and forearms on the floor beside you and try to just move the legs. (As Szabo adds, feel free to sing “Row, row, row your boat” to make it more fun.)
Because cyclists are hunched over their bike, they often have a hard time extending their hips and spine, Szabo says. It’s very likely that during this test, you’ll want to round out your back; be sure to maintain a neutral spine to help protect the low back. “There is a lot going on in this movement, so take your time,” he adds.
The motion is smooth.
Relatively easy progression through the movements.
Your motion is jerky, and you have to use momentum to “fling” yourself up.
Flapping limbs, or falling to one side.
What it tests:
The core’s ability to support the body’s capacity to extend.
Lie face down on the floor with your arms over head in front of you. When you’re ready, left your arms, head and as much of your torso and legs as possible. Hold and breathe. If you suffer from any neck pain, not to crank from the back of your head when you lift up. Instead, keep your eyes forward and down, with your eyesight in line with your sternum or a little higher.
The core is often associated with the front of the body, but it also helps stabilise the back of the body. Since they spend so much time in the forward position, many cyclists show strength along the front of the body and weaker muscle functions along the back.
The motion is smooth and coordinated with breath.
You’re able to “play”, by lifting just your left leg, and putting it down, then the right, as well as your arms.
You rely on strength or force rather than coordination.
You’re holding your breath or your breathing is choppy.
What it tests:
This drill is designed to challenge coordination of breath with core control while moving the legs.
Place a long foam roller perpendicular to a wall and lie down on it with your hands touching the wall behind you for stability. Draw your knees towards your chest, so that the thighs are perpendicular to the floor, and perform “bicycle” movements with your legs: first extending one leg straight, then the other as the first leg returns to its bent position.
Cycling, quite simply, comes down to being able to maintain a stable base from which to produce steady power. “Superimpose coordinated breathing on top of that and now we have a challenge on our hands” says Christopher Johnson, a Seattle physical therapist. Often when people tense their core muscles they restrict the areas where the breath is designed to go, which can decrease their capacity to produce power. Coordinating both can increase your performance.
The motion is smooth and fluid while maintaining hand position without losing contact of the low back against the foam roller.
Fluid motion at a cadence consistent with cycling.
Eventual addition of a resistance band placed around both feet.
You lose balance and fall off the foam roller or lose contact with your low back against the foam roller.