I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
The information / discussion in the Cycling Health Forum is not qualified medical advice. Please consult your doctor.
I've done lots of riding in the last 8 months and every part of my body seem toned except for the abs. Pro cyclists however have very toned abs (or at least non fatty abs). What is the best way to strengthen ab muscles?
Does strengthening the abs also help cycling? If so why?
Chances are your 6 pack is in great shape, just covered by a little padding, ask me how I know...
I'm pretty sure that no matter how much you work them, they won't show well until that last bit of fat has been thinned out.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
I can't do sit ups or crunches due to an inflamed muscle above my stomach. Can't remember what it's called. But the doctor suggested sucking my abdomin in and holding for 5-10seconds, then releasing it. Repeat the process 20-30 times per day.
Do not do stomach exercises unless you have an empty stomach. Crunches on a full stomach is bad
Having 'strong abs' doesn't mean that you're going get around with a 6 pack. And strong abs may be counter-productive if you don't train the whole core area. Pro cyclists have defined mid sections because they are lean primarily. Men carry most of their body fat on their stomach; women on their hips - so these places are the hardest to shed the fat.
I found that hill climbing helped strengthened my core plus I do a lot of floor based exercises: planks, bridges, bracing etc. I think it's best you have a look on you tube or even better, get along to your local physio and ask them or see if they have a mat pilates class.
Giant XTC 2
I decided one day that if I was going to spend a few hours watching television, I should 'plank' my way through every advert. You soon realise how many adverts there are on TV, and how long some breaks are, particularly between programs. I continued this for a few nights, and certainly felt it was working, but, as others have mentioned, having a visible 6-pack is as much about diet as it is exercise.
Giant TCR 0
Nobody looks back on their life....and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep !!
Planks. There are lots of ways to strengthen your core muscles without crunches. Just google "core workout" and pick exercises that are suitable such as http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/core- ... lpage=true
You need strong core muscles to cycle. When I am out of condition and I do a really hard ride, my abs ache when I get home. I could do core workouts to bring my core up to what I need for cycling. If you already ride a lot or ride hard often enough, chances are you already have enough core strength to cycle at the level you need. There are lots of other reasons to do core work: injury prevention, back pain and posture. But as mentioned above, if you are exercising but still soft around the middle, it is most likely what you are eating.
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The best way to strengthen your abs is to use them, the same as any other muscle.
Not ab specific, but pretty balanced
The apps are better because they talk to you so you do not have to watch the screen - there is a an android app as well on the play store.
Do it 3-10 times for a proper workout. 7 mins is not enough, really, but better than nothing.
Abs are made in the kitchen... I love it. It's completely true as well. Pro cyclists are dieting on top of 6 hour training days as they peak. Froome's skeleton with quads look isn't something to aspire to if you want to use the word "toned" to describe the physique. It's not hard to get so thin your muscle shows, but it's very hard to maintain the muscle bulk at the same time that makes someone think you're ripped. We aren't talking about lots of muscle bulk either.
Strong abs don't make 6 packs. That entire image is based on steroids and crazy cutting/burning programs for competition. The guys that achieve that look tend to be professional models and PED users. That's acceptable in the gym beefcake world but not in the WADA tested cycling world.
Best way? Ride unicycle. Not a hard workout for sure. But you will have solid lower back and abs and you won't even know that you haave been doing a workout.
The saying is "Abs are hard earned in the gym. But easily lost in the kitchen." As others have suggested a little extra fat in the dermis and you will not see them regardless of ab strength.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
No. Exercise your core for strength. Lose fat if you want the results of said exercise to be visible.
But is riding lots enough to strengthen the core? Or wold extra crunches be needed?
Depends on how strong your core already is, but not really, a little bit maybe, might do the opposite. You need more than just crunches really.
However, as a bloke on the internet, I think pilates and/or yoga* are a really good thing to do anyway. Core strength and flexibility are awesome for life in general. Cycling does nothing for flexibility (probably harms it, if cycling is all you do) and not a great deal for core strength. It is awesome for cardio (like probably the best form of exercise for it awesome) and leg strength to a certain extent (glutes, quads and calfs, but not so good for hamstrings - you'll be good at stomping, but not so good at kicking).
*Dynamic yoga, I'm not into the whole spiritual side of it.
Crunches is not a good core workout.
Good "core workout". There are lots of examples.
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http://www.amazon.com/Tom-Danielsons-Co ... 193403097X
This pretty much covers everything, if you aren't interested in using weights. Really, you should be able to perform the routines in the book well before considering using weights. I've found this extremely challenging, even at the easiest levels.
As others have already pointed out, crunches alone wont help you much and neither does riding. Leiothrix's advice to do free weights was good. A fair chunk of my core workout comes from free weights, although I will often throw in russian twists at the end of a workout as well as crunches (using something similar to this) & hanging leg raises to mix it up.
Ok, I get it now.
Here are some demonstrations to exercise the core.
I'm a person of simplicity and some of the exercises look challenging to perform. I am tempted to just do as many push ups as possible and nothing else. Is that a good idea?
No, especially if you are just trying to do as many as possible and do them with poor technique. It could even be counter-productive.
Body composition seems important to you so do a bit of research of physio practices in your area and see if they offer anything. Or just make an appointment with one. Explain your situation and see if they'll asses you. You may find you need more flexibility than strengthening.
Or go and chop some firewood, dig a few trenches and you'll get the perfect core workout.
Giant XTC 2
Is that a good idea? No.
How about you try the workout and see how it goes? It might be easier than you think. I reckon it looks like a really good one. I will try it on the weekend and let you know.
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