Get bike fit this year with this simple yet effective training plan
In the last issue of ABR, we started to look at your posture by training your upper back muscles. This time we are going to focus on that well-known but elusive area, the ‘six pack’.
In order to have an aesthetic six-pack, you need both very low body fat and the correct genetic connective tissue, but abs aren’t all about looking good naked.
The focus here is the ‘core’, and this is the area that is sometimes overlooked in training with unhealthy consequences.
Lower back instability and weak abdominals can lead to that dreaded back pain, or in our case, bad posture and soreness whilst on and off the bike.
The goal of this article is to train the core for health in the saddle and not necessarily to create the ‘look’.
Good news for those of you who like a hearty English breakfast to set you up for a day’s riding.
The main muscle here is the rectus abdominus with some recruitment of the oblique muscles in the following exercises.
For anyone who has trained the abdominals, you will know that there is a vast range of exercises available, these three will target the required musculature.
To the core
The first exercise is the abdominal crunch with bent raised legs. Lay on your back (preferably on a mat or carpet) with your hands by your ears, lower back flat on the floor and your legs raised with your knees bent.
Contract your abs before you move (this is termed an isometric contraction) then raise your torso up so that your elbows nearly reach your thighs.
Then lower back to the start position being careful not to strain the neck muscles.
Perform 10 repetitions for three sets with 20 seconds rest between sets.
The tempo for all of these exercises should be 1:1:1, one second up, one-second hold, one second down.
An advanced version of this exercise is to straighten the arms and legs and to attempt to touch the hands to the feet during each rep.
To target both the abdominals and obliques you should use the ‘ab bicycle’ exercise. Lay on your back and get into the same start position as the ab crunch.
Bring left leg towards your right elbow twisting your torso as you move, repeat with the opposite side. You are in effect ‘cycling’ with your legs.
The tempo for this can be a little faster with a 1:0:1 timing, one second for each side without a hold at the twist.
Perform 20 reps over two sets.
The last exercise is the ‘plank’.
This is where the fun starts! This exercise not only targets the abs, but also the lower back and other musculature.
Get into a press-up position, then drop down onto your forearms keeping both feet on the floor and your back completely straight (this is the KEY point- do NOT bend at the waist).
This is an isometric exercise as you don’t not move during the holding of the position. You should aim to hold this position for 30 seconds in each of two sets.
Remember to incorporate these bike-fit exercises into your growing circuit from the previous issues of the magazine that can be used for training your body generally or when use of a gym is unlikely during an extended trip.
I will be in Mexico and Guatemala on an extended motorcycle trip when you are reading this and will be following my own advice!