How To Engage Core When Cycling (ACTIONABLE TIPS)

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Did you know that you can do a lot more while spinning? We agree that cycling is basically a cardio exercise. It is not a core workout and this explains why most cyclists have a weaker core. However, you can break this myth and engage your core muscles while riding a bike.

We often get asked this question as to how to engage core when cycling. Do you know why instructors ask us to employ our core muscles when cycling, is to save us from injury? That is right, using your abdominal muscles when cycling, be it outside or inside, can save you from throwing your back.  

Yes, there are a few ways by which you can strengthen your core and we have explained all that in this post. If this interests you, then we have laid down a few tactics that will help you reach your goals.

Related: What Factors Cause Variations in Time Taken to Bike a Mile?

How to Engage Your Core? What Does It Mean to Engage Your Core? Find out with Studio SWEAT OnDemand

How Do I Properly Engage My Core?

There are numerous exercises by which you can engage your core. Here is a short demo and this is known as the abdominal draw:

  • Bend your knees and lie on your back, you may sit or even stand for doing this
  • Now breathe in and draw in your stomach as if it were aligned with your spine
  • You will start to feel the muscles around your abs tighten
  • Just hold on to this for 5 to 10 seconds
  • Then relax
  • Repeat for a few sets and gradually increase them

Related: What Is the Best Gear Ratio for Hill Climbing Road Bike?

How Do I Strengthen My Core For Cycling?

How Do I Strengthen My Core For Cycling?

Cyclists, especially the ones that go out in the road, need strong upper body muscles. This will help them develop overcome fatigue while pedaling. Otherwise, untrained cores get tired easily and it ultimately results in back aches.

Below are mentioned some of the exercises that can help you strengthen your core for cycling:

Mountain Climbers

  • Get into push up position
  • Support with your hands and toes
  • Now, bend a knee and push it towards your chest
  • Give it a slight kick and place it back to its original position
  • Repeat with the other leg
  • You can start with 20 reps
  • Keep your back straight and if you move from this position, you must take a break and restart

Bicycle Crunch

  • Lie on your back
  • Hold the back of your ears
  • Lift your neck, just try not to strain your neck
  • Fold your legs and keep them parallel to the ground
  • Bring your knees close to your chest, as if you are pedaling in the air
  • Slowly relax your leg, but keep it up in the air, and corresponding to the ground
  • Repeat with the other leg
  • You can start with 20 reps

How To Work Abs While Cycling?

You can work out those abdomen muscles while cycling by riding a recumbent bike. That is true, as the sitting position of these bikes utilizes your obliques and lower abs as you pedal.

Of course, there are many more ways that you can put to use when cycling to engage your core, like:

Sit Straight

Just sit up straight on your and you will feel a world of difference. This means no slouching at all. This will get your abs a better workout over slumping while cycling.

Standing Up

That is right, you can stand up on the pedals after a few intervals while spinning. Just lift your bottom up and balance yourself for some time. This will bring your core into line with the process.


Crunches on a bike, is that for real? Yes, it is and all you have to do is to contract your abs in and pedal. This will turn out into a better cardio workout as well.

Does Cycling Build Obliques?

The point is cycling will benefit your core muscles. Now, the question is if they are good for your obliques or not. The answer is in the affirmative, yes cycling can build obliques. Nonetheless, you will have to follow a strict regime and diet for this.

Related: 6 Major Benefits of Recumbent Bikes for Seniors

Cycling is a low-impact activity, especially, exercise bikes. If you increase the resistance, and pedal faster, it will amplify the intensity. This will hit the obliques and you will ultimately enjoy a good workout.

We have mentioned a few of the many ways that you can use to work out your core when spinning. Be creative and blend in a few more exercises, yes but seek guidance from your instructor for the same. They know you more, so they will be in a good position to answer your queries specifically. All the best!

Hi! My name is Dario Lemut and I am the Founder of Cycling fanatic with over two decades of experience on all types of terrain. From long-distance races to rugged mountains. Sharing my experiences and knowledge on my popular cycling website, I'm helping fellow riders to discover new routes and adventures.

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