Core Exercise #2: Power Bridge
What It Works: Hip flexors, glutes, lower back
A. Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your heels near your glutes. Arms are at your sides, palms down.
B. 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.
Core Exercise #3: Hip Extension
What It Works: Lower back, hamstrings, glutes
A. 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.
B. 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.
Core Exercise #4: Plank
What It Works: Transverse abdominus, upper and lower back
A. Lying on your stomach, place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms and hands on the floor.
B. 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.