Keys to Getting More Aero on the Bike
Stretch to obtain a more aerodynamic position on the bike.
Next you should do a few exercises/activations to reinforce proper muscle balance. Two core muscles that are critical and often under active are the deep abdominals (transverse abdominus) and a key back stabilizer called quadratus lumborum. Strengthening other middle and upper back muscles will assist in being aero and stable on your bike. These activations are intended to help improve function in commonly under active muscle groups:
- Deep Abdominals - Lie on your back with your knees up and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands under your lower back at the level of your navel. Activate by pulling in below your navel and trying to push your low back into your hands with as much force as you can. You can do short pulses and/or long holds. Work up to two sets of 15 reps.
- Quadratus Lumborum - Activation will improve range of motion and coordination of this key muscle. Think of this as the bridge between you upper and lower bodies. Lie flat on your back with legs straight. Extend your left ankle and flex your right. Now slowly slide your left leg down and bring your right leg up, keeping both legs straight and on the floor. This should feel like a shift of the hips. Now reverse and continue to alternate, trying to increase range of motion as you go. Start with five cycles and work up to two sets of 15.
- Full Back Extension - This can be done on the floor, on a back extension device or preferably on a stability ball. Start face down and with your arms extended out to the side, palms facing your feet. In one smooth and slow movement, raise your torso up and raise your straight arms up and back until your palms face the sky. Slowly lower to the start position and repeat. Work up to two sets of 15 reps.
- Back Torsion - This can be done on the floor or on a stability ball. Start on your hands and knees with your back straight. Hands should be directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. From this position, lift your left arm and right leg off the floor and try to keep your hips level with the floor. Slowly extend the arm and leg at a 45 degree angle from the body. Hold for ten seconds and return to start position. Alternate sides and work your way up to two sets of 10.
Taking fifteen minutes before your ride to go through this routine will prepare your body for the demands you are placing on it. Over time you should feel more comfortable in the aero position and be able to generate more power from your improved stability.
Finally, riding in the aero position is a challenge for anyone