I just came across a good technique for forcing your core muscles to engage during your pedal stroke.
After sitting through innumerable hours in Chiropractic seminars at which the importance of dynamic exercise is stressed, there’s one thing I know.
If you can engage the part of your body that you’re attempting to strengthen while you’re having to perform a complex task, the benefits improve enormously.
In other words, isolation of muscle groups for anything other than body building, or perhaps rehabbing a very specific body part is ‘yesterday’s child’.
When I saw this video on forcing your core to engage during the ‘over the top’ phase of the pedal stroke, I liked the idea. It’s easy to envision the core having to really contract in order to keep the rider from tipping over backward.
Additionally, when you decrease the torso-to-femur angle, you shorten the iliopsoas muscles (hip flexors). That serves to reduce their contribution to the equation. After all, you’re trying to force your core muscles to work extra hard.
One of the key components of gaining benefits from exercise is the neurogenic component.
(Neurogenic: Starting with or having to do with the nerves or the nervous system)
With a very strong ‘barrage’ of neurological input into the muscles (due to the proprioceptive input from body positioning, and the resultant neurologic processing…and then appropriate output back to the muscles), the effects of the workout are heightened considerably.
This is why any exercise done on an unsteady surface is so beneficial. All of the balancing that has to be done forces the brain to kick into overdrive to keep the body upright.
That’s what I’d call putting the neurogenic input to muscles into overdrive.
When I watch this video I envision all that takes place in the core to keep the cyclist from tipping over backward while on the elevated trainer. When having to overcome the natural swaying back and forth that pedaling introduces, the task becomes even more complex.
In this elevated pedaling drill, I see an activity with a lot of potential for unbalanced, sport-specific core strengthening.
Give it a viewing.
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The Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer also introduces extra movement into the bike trainer equation.