How to… keep your torso steady when working hard on the bike

We share some exercises to stop your upper-body rocking when going all-out on two wheels

Cyclist going hard in an Ironman

Want to keep your upper-body steady when going hard on the bike, to ensure maximum power and efficiency? Former 220 editor Mat Brett outlines some exercises you can do…

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You won’t keep your upper body absolutely motionless throughout the bike leg of a tri, but you need a stable core to provide the foundation for a solid pedal stroke and to avoid wasting energy caused by excessive movement.

A strong core will also help maintain an efficient position comfortably for longer, so it’ll have a very real effect on your bike split. Here are three exercises to develop core strength:


Get into a press-up position, but with your forearms on the ground supporting your weight. Your elbows should be underneath your shoulders with your trunk and legs raised off the floor, while your neck and head are in a neutral position. Your body should be in straight alignment from ankles to shoulders so that your bum is flat. Hold this position for 30secs and repeat three times. If you find this easy, add 10secs next time, and so on.

Side plank

The side plank is similar but – you guessed it – you do it on one side, resting on one forearm, with one leg resting on top of the other. Again, keep your body straight from ankles to shoulders. You need to do this exercise on both sides.

Back extensions

Lie on your front with a Swiss ball supporting your pelvis and the soles of your feet against a wall. With your fingertips at your temples, lift your upper body from your hips until your back is straight. Hold this position briefly, then slowly return to the start position.

Repeat 6-12 times per set and perform 2-3 sets. You can do this exercise without a ball, although you won’t get the same range of movement.

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