Build a better core
Improving flexibility and strengthening your core will help you to improve your cycling. Try these five key Swiss ball exercises from yoga instructor Lorna Chapman (www.lunayogawinchester.co.uk)
Place your hands under your shoulders on the floor and put your shins on the ball. Draw your abdominals in to keep your back in a flat plank position. Lift your hips slowly above your shoulders and return back to plank, keeping the legs straight.
Works: Abdominals, back, arms and shoulders, and helps to align the spine.
Place the ball close to a wall and lie with one hip on the ball, the other above it with your feet against the wall. Your knees can be slightly bent. Place your fingertips by your ears and keep elbows and shoulders back. Lift towards the wall and lower again.
Works: Obliques and abdominals and opens the shoulders.
Back it up
Lie prone on the ball and place your hands by your ears, drawing the shoulder blades down. Squeeze the glutes and lift your torso from the waists, forming a straight line. Avoid lifting too high; this could put strain on your lower back.
Works: lower back muscles and glutes, activates trapezius and opens the shoulders.
Stretch out troublesome glutes. Sit on the ball and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Push your right hand into your right knee and the knee into the hand to create a counter pressure. Then lean forwards into a deeper stretch. You can also improve balance and core strength by lifting your arms above your head.
Works: Stretches the glutes and opens the hips.
Finish with a backbend, the perfect counter-pose to your cycling position. Slide backwards until your lower back is over the ball, release your arms over your head, aiming the hands towards the floor. You can place your feet against a wall for stability if you need to.
Works: Stretches the front of your body, and the front of your shoulders , and helps to keep your spine flexible.
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