We have reached the 4th stage in this year’s Tour De Yoga. Congratulations if you’ve completed the previous 3 stages. I hope you are enjoying the journey. You are well on your way to establishing a regular routine and reaping the benefits on & off the bike.
For Stage 4, we focus on engaging the core muscles in the mid body. Now, this isn’t about developing a six-pack, although building strength in the rectus abdominals will certainly help with that. The beauty of yoga is that the sequences don’t just focus on a single muscle in isolation, but engage groups of muscles to help develop balanced strength.
As you can imagine, cycling 60+ revolutions per minute, even over relatively short distances, can result in overuse of specific muscles, and underuse of others – this dominance can place a strain on the body. For example, the outer quadriceps in the thighs are engaged more often to power the pedalling motion than inner quadriceps. This muscular imbalance can place a strain on the knee joint on every pedal rotation.
In the core area, the same often applies – a cyclist’s riding position can result in overdeveloped back muscles and underdeveloped abdominal muscles. This relative abdominal weakness can result in insufficient support for the back, particularly over longer distances when riding in a fixed position, increasing the risk of back problems.
So, core activation sequences can be hugely beneficial to cyclists in reducing the risk of injuries, and helping unlock energy in the body for power, stability and performance. Integrating slower, deeper breathing with movements can also help engage core muscles, while also sending a signal to calm the mind and direct energy where needed.