Why bother with core and stability?
In cycling, you "power" with one leg while the other "recovers"
"You can only power with your legs that which your core can stabilize"
To have an efficient pedal stroke, you need to be able to stabilize your torso, hips and knees, while your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves power your bike forward with each pedal stroke
Stability becomes even more important as you try to pedal while holding your TT position, or get into your drops into a headwind, or while powering up a climbing in/out of the saddle. These unilateral movements especially help with that
What is a good place to start?
Here is a list of 7 movements, that will take you 30 minutes to cycle complete, doing 3 sets x 10-15 reps on both your L and R, where applicable:
1. Trunk stability -> Bird-dog Row
2. Knee stability -> Band Walks
3. Hamstring and Hip stability -> Single Leg Dead Lift
4. Glutes and Hip stability -> Step Ups
5. Glutes and Trunk stability -> Lateral Lunges:
6. Posterior Chain mobility -> Founder
7. Core Conditioning -> Planks: a mix of traditional/dynamic planks and side planks
How how do you progress and When do you do these exercises?
Start with just your body weight (calisthenics) or light resistance at first
Focus on good form. It takes 6-8 sessions of calisthenic work before your muscles get used to the firing patterns needed to execute these movements at a 8-9/10, self-assessed
These are best done either before your ride or as a separate workout, just not right after a ride though when you are fatigued
As you stop getting sore post-exercise sets -- which is an indication that you have got stronger, add need more stimulus -- eventually work your way up in resistance in small increments of 1-2kg or increased band resistance.
Image Credits: Chenthil Mohan