Core Work


Today was warm down the valley for only the second time this year. Time to get the bike out for a workout. Apart from feeling a lot stronger than two weeks ago – the last warm day and first time out on the bike – this time I was able to take some of the feelings recently developed on skis and apply them to the bike. For the moment times will be slow because I’m lugging an extra 10kg of winter fat up the hill. This is my energy store for the summer workouts! Nevertheless the time was about 10 minutes faster than two weeks ago so that’s a good start. The main thing I felt today was a constant working of the core muscles. I’d discovered an exercise when working with Rowdy that simulates the effect and feeling with the arms instead. You simply stand still facing a wall and remaining stationary you push against a wall with your hand without moving your body and as the pressure builds you feel the core muscles tighten up reflexively so that you can work against your body internally. With the pedal stroke the pushing has the same effect on the core  – but the work coming from the foot and leg instead of the hand and arm. It’s good to feel the core working properly and by correctly identifying the feeling it’s easy to maintain it constantly. It’s when pushing forwards and downwards with power that it’s really felt – the hip moving backwards at the same time. If the hip moves forwards then the leg muscles end up working against body weight – but if the hip moves backwards during the push then the core muscles join in more effectively and the load is distributed through those muscles as well as the leg. The Osymetric dual camber chainring lends itself well to the timing of the core/ leg connection – because the increase in effective chainring size is coordinated with the push.  


When skiing I noticed that it’s the moving back of the hip with the associated twist of the spine that allows pelvic tilt to be maintained throughout a strenuous effort and even with heavy abdominal breathing. If the hip comes forwards instead and squashes beneath the front ribs then controlling pelvic tilt becomes impossible.

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