If you're not doing core work, you should be. Research on cyclists shows that when core muscles fatigue, pedaling mechanics break down (learn the Perfect Pedal Strike for more efficient rides), paving the way for poor performance and injury.
No time, you say? That's no excuse. You need only four minutes to hone your core, says Allison Westfahl, an exercise physiologist in Boulder, Colorado. Here she details the moves she prescribes for pro clients like Garmin-Sharp's Tom Danielson.
Perform one set of each exercise, resting 15 seconds between moves. Aim for three sessions a week. If you can, tack the routine onto the end of a ride.
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A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that cyclists who cooled down with a core workout had significantly better lactate clearance, which helps reduce muscle fatigue, than those who did nothing.
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Lie face-down, arms extended along your sides. Gently squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your feet, chest, and hands no more than six inches off the floor. Sweep your arms overhead and separate your feet. Try to touch your hands above your head. Return to the start position, relaxing your feet, chest, and arms. Do 15 reps.