FROM THE COACHES: Core and Hip Stability for Training

Getting to the “Core” of the matter is essential to be a durable, faster, injury free athlete.

As athletes we put in many long hours training for our goal events and one of the biggest concerns is that an injury will pop up or linger impacting our ability to compete or train. How do most injuries happen? The simple answer is muscle imbalances! Where do these muscle imbalances originate? Improper posture, weak assisting muscles, ill-fitting shoes or lack of supportive equipment or a comprehensive core routine. I have had several athletes over the past 6 months or so ask me why they might be having new onset lower back, hip or neck pain. The answer usually lies in that many of us have transitioned to working from home and may not be sitting with correct posture, sitting in a proper work chair or wearing supportive shoes even if we have a standing desk at our disposal. Your posture and use of your lower back and core are more important than ever and must be a priority to keep you injury free and durable in training. Your core is comprised of many central muscles including transversus abdominus, multifidus, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. The core muscles provide your spinal and central muscle systems with stability and coordinate the movement of your extremities. Without a strong core, we will not keep the body standing or moving in the correctly aligned positions which will put the spine, arms and legs out of position and left in a vulnerable stability pattern for movement and the possibility of injury. A muscle imbalance which is undetectable with the naked eye can become a full-blown imbalance causing another muscle group to compensate and leading to injury over time. Injury prevention is not the only benefit of a strong core, it also creates the right pathways for the muscles to fire in the correct patterns and gained core strength and proper muscle firing patterns produce more effective training and faster racing times. One of the biggest benefits to your training and racing will be that the stronger your core the longer you can hold proper technique and form. Below are some ideal core and hip stability exercises to begin with that every endurance athlete should incorporate into their training at least twice a week for a faster, injury free season. Remember when executing these exercises to remain tall, shoulders down and back, pull your belly button towards your spine and tuck your tailbone under you.

1. Glute Bridge

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat or on the floor, legs bent at the knee with feet flat on the floor.
  2. Raise your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line
  3. Hold your bridge position for 30-60 seconds

2. Theraband Side Steps

How to perform:

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width apart, loop theraband around both legs resting just above knees.
  2. Bend at your knees slightly while stepping out to the side until the band is taut. Repeat with other leg.
  3. Perform 10 steps to the left, before changing direction and performing 10 steps to the right.

3. Theraband Monster Walk

How to Perform:

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width apart in a partial squat position, loop theraband around both ankles.
  2. In one motion, step forward and then out to the side until the band is taut. Repeat with other leg
  3. Perform a total of 12 steps before repeating.

4. Theraband Squat

How to Perform:

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width apart loop theraband around legs and position just above knees.
  2. Bend at the knees while keeping your torso as upright as possible, as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. As you lower keep the theraband taut. Do not go lower than 90 degrees. Complete 15

5. Front Plank

How to Perform:

  1. Position yourself face down on elbows and knees.
  2. Keep elbows under shoulders at 90 degrees and press up on toes while extending legs out straight.
  3. Lower hips until head, shoulders, hips and feet are in a straight line. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

6. Side Plank with Bent Leg

How to Perform:

  1. Lie on your side with knees touching and top leg out straight and bottom leg bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Positions elbow and forearm directly over shoulder, raise hips keeping head, hips and knees aligned
  3. While keeping your body in this raised position, lift your top leg 45 degrees. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

7. Backwards Lunges

How to Perform:

  1. While standing tall with feet side by side, step backwards with one leg keeping torso upright.
  2. With hands on hips, bend back leg at the knee, allowing front leg to follow. Front knee not to extend past toes.
  3. Back knee will almost touch the floor. Repeat lunge by alternating legs. Complete 15 on each side.

8. Opposite Arm & Leg Raise

How to Perform:

  1. Position yourself on your hands and knees at 90 degrees under your body and back straight.
  2. While keeping head, shoulders and hips aligned raise your right arm and left leg out straight.
  3. Hold each arm and leg raise for 10 seconds. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Complete 15 on each side
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Thanks! I had been meaning to ask about this, and how it compared to the SUF strength program.

I notice SUF strength does not have theraband work, does it matter? Also, would staying on the beginner modules be enough to maintain a strong posture for riding? Or is a transition to the intermediate module highly recommended or necessary at some point?

Also, I’m coming from a collarbone fracture three months ago, so planks are still not recommended. What can be done as a substitute?

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Are new strength videos with the theraband exercises coming?

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I see a marketing opportunity for Wahoo: package up a branded mat, some branded bands, a couple of branded water bottles; call it the Wahoo Fitness Fitnss & Yogr Bundle; sell it for 500% markup… :muscle:t2: :woman_kneeling: :heavy_dollar_sign: :heavy_dollar_sign:

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Happy to hear you found it helpful. Strength work is a great asset to helping you not only stay injury free, but can actually make you faster, since your holding proper technique longer.

Having a strength program as part of your weekly training is always beneficial whether your using bands or not. You will still get the benefit of the muscle engagement. The bands objective is to serve as additional resistance. You can get bands of several different strengths as you progress. The beginner modules are sufficient to maintain strength and strong postures. You do develop a level of muscle memory and adaption to the same repetitive motions so I do suggest mixing it up with other sessions, adding repetitions or length of hold times.

Great to hear the broken collarbone is in the rear view mirror for you. I would always first suggest speaking with your physical therapist regarding the appropriate exercise load for your fracture’s healing rate. You could exchange the plank for following:

  1. Superman:
  • Lay face down on a mat or flat surface, with arms outstretched.
  • Keep your hands and arms straight throughout the exercise. If you cannot
    extend the the healing collarbone out in front of you then you can leave your arm by your
    side and rotate the arm up as your range of motion returns.
  • Raise your hand and legs 4-5 inches off the ground.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Be sure to keep your head in a
    neutral position, meaning that it should be level and even with your back, not tilted up
    or down.
  1. Prone Opposite Arm & Leg Raise:
  • Same premise as the exercise listed in the article but start with by lying on your stomach
    face down. Keeping head in a neutral position.
  • Raise your right arm and leg left straight in front of you. If your range of motion is
    minimized you can start with your arm by your side and then raise the arm as range of
    motion returns.
  • Hold each arm and leg for 10 second. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Compete 15 on
    each side.

All the best!

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We are always in a state of renewal with our content and our focus to stay current and relevant for our users so keep posted there is lots more to come.

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Sounds perfect. I believe this is a good starting point. Thank you!

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Some of these exercises with theraband are on swim strengh A or B not sure in wich one is.

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