Balance is a major factor in cycling, but it is also important in all sports. An easy way and the only easy way to improve your balance, is to work on your core. Balance not only requires an excellent equilibrium, but also good stability of the core muscles. This helps your joints, particularly in the back, hips, knees, and ankles. So when I have clients perform drills related to balance and they aren’t doing so well, it’s easy for me to say we need to strengthen their core. Your balance is determined by your hearing (primarily the inner ear), your vision, and nerves located in your muscles, tendons, and joints. Your balance may be off because of an injury, an illness, bad posture, muscle imbalances, and a weak core.
Where I am going with this? Thoroughly workout your core and everything else will come with ease when it comes to cycling and every sport or exercise you want to do. The better your balance is, the easier it is to ‘control’ your bike and furthermore this leads to speed. Balance directly relates to a rider’s speed and this is especially true for the mountain biking types. Superior core strength helps you put that power to the pedals, generating more watts in harder gears.
A cyclist that only rides can lose core strength. As a matter of fact cycling alone will kill your overall speed, because you haven’t gained strength through resistance training and core building exercises. Cycling is interesting because it relies partially on strength in your abdominal and back muscles, yet does nothing to maintain these important muscle groups. Cycling alone will kill your overall strength, power, and speed. Many cyclists may have awesome glutes, hamstrings, and calves, but weak core strength.
Finally cycling is also about maintaining an aerodynamic posture on the bike, while also having comfort, and that takes core strength. The best way to do this is to stay in a low position to the bike frame and handle bars and keeping your chest out of the wind. This takes a great deal of abdominal strength and back strength. My first answer to every person that ask how to gain 1,2,3 mph on avg or 5-10% in watts (each zone), is to have them start with their bodies foundation and work on that core.
Kevin Lee- USA Cycling Certified Coach and Group Fitness Trainer