zoom200Cyclocross is arguably one of the most difficult disciplines of cycling. It requires an athlete to be somewhat more well rounded. Core strength plays a role with all cycling disciplines but in cyclocross, there is a larger component because unlike other disciplines you have mounts and dismounts and running. I once heard a team physio for one for one of the Euro pro teams say that having poor core strength is like shooting a cannon off while in a canoe. There is no foundation and then boat will wobble. Here are 3 moves you can do at home that take just a few minutes that will shore you up for racing.

1. “Supermans”
Supermans address the muscles of the back, glutes and shoulders. Lie down on the floor on your belly and place arms flat on the ground above your head. Simultaneously lift the arms, shoulders and legs from the ground several inches and hold for a count of 2. (Think “one Mississippi, 2 Mississippi). Try doing 2-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. Make an effort not to raise yourself up too high as excessive extension of the spine can be counterproductive.

2. Side bridges
Lie down on your side in a straight line. Prop yourself up on your elbow with your elbow directly under the shoulder. Place your other hand on your hip and then raise up so that your entire body is elevated and just the elbow and feet are touching the ground. Hold for a count of 1 (1 Mississippi) and then lower yourself slowly. Try doing 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

3. Basic crunch
This is a standby move that most people are familiar with. Lying on the floor, place the feet flat on the floor with the knees elevated. Before beginning think about drawing your navel through to your spine and hold that. Then, with your hands placed next to your ears, fingertips behind the ears (so you don’t pull the head and neck and create poor spinal/cervical alignment) lift up your head and upper spine until your shoulders and upper back are off the ground. Hold for a count of 1 (1 Mississippi) and then slowly lower yourself all the way back down until your head is on the ground. Repeat. Try 2-4 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Don’t worry if you have to start with fewer and then work your way up.

See the video below for demonstrations. 


Ainslie MacEachran is a AAAI/ISMA certified personal trainer and a USA Cycling licensed coach.
If you want to work on your core strength, you can reach ainslie at