Chris Hoy. Google him if you don't know who he is. I saw some info on him yesterday that blew my mind. Power numbers. Big numbers. For those of you who care about wanting to get stronger and leaner, you should pay very close attention to what I am about to write. Midline stability. Know what that means? That means how controlled, compact, balanced and strong you are when it refers to your hips, back, abdomen and "close to center" part of your body.
Watch a cyclist who gets fatigued. What happens? They start moving a lot on the bike to generate more power. What happens? They actually generate less power. They are moving excessively. This additional movement is wasted energy but the perceived value of increased power to the cyclist is greater. They are wrong. Move less with the upper body and then generate more power. Yes you need some movement but only to balance out rhythm to keep the power to the pedals.
So, Chris Hoy. He has recorded some of the biggest peak power numbers ever recorded. Dude can throw down 2000+ watts on a flying 200m. Watch his body on a track. Tight, strong with all movement coming from his piston-like pedal stroke. The numbers I saw on his data yesterday (I spent a full day with British Cycling) also showed that he is basically a perfect 50%-50% on left to right pressure/power. Unheard of for that kind of wattage.
But, for you roadies out there same principle applies. Watch Contador. When he climbs, his upper body is fairly still. The bike moves, he doesn't. Watch other riders as they try to attach to his wheel. They are moving a lot. They are using a lot of "non-efficient" energy to fight to stay on his wheel. If their midline was more stable, they would be closer to hanging with him.
How do you strengthen the midline? Weights. Hollow rock. Ab and low back work. Heavy lifting. Power-based exercises. Not all bike! Spend time on the midline stability and watch your power numbers go up!
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