Skip to main content

Caleb Ewan's Sprint Position - Revealed through Kinesiology

Smart Core Exercise - Alligator Walk Suicides (Advanced Plank Progression)

Contrary to popular belief, the core was not designed to move the spine- it was designed to protect the spine from movement.  When the spine flexes, extends or rotates (twists), it places severe stress on the discs.  The goal of core exercise is to train the core to resist movement throughout all planes of motion and various loading patterns so that the entire body can operate as one single unit.

A Spine Biomechanics Professor, Dr. Stuart McGill was first to discover that the sit-up exercise places harmful stress on the spine.  A great article posted on Mens Health interviewed and covered several of Dr. Stuart McGill's ground breaking research on core training and its impact on the spine.  Check out the article below or do a Google search of his name to find hundreds of his studies on this topic.  After reading the article below, you'll learn that the sit-up is merely one of the many exercises that are dangerous to spine health.

An interesting study published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association studied the relationship between cycling mechanics and core stability.  The study demonstrated that a fatigued core negatively impacts the quality of each pedal stroke.  While power output was not significantly affected, the quality of each pedal stroke was compromised.  The study left me with one question: How does a fatigued core affect cycling economy and efficiency?  If a fatigued core leads to altered cycling mechanics, then it's likely that cycling economy and efficiency will be compromised, especially out of the saddle.

Now that you have a great understanding on how to train the core properly, here's an exercise that follows the recommended protocols to train the core safely- Alligator Walk Suicides.  This is one of my favorite cycling core exercises.

Due to the advanced nature of this exercise, consult a Doctor before attempting to do the Alligator Walk exercise.  Even after getting a go-ahead with a doctor, ensure that you meet the following criteria to reduce your risk of injury:
  • You can hold a stationary plank for three minutes without losing form.
    • Example: Dropping the hips, dropping the head, holding your breath (valsalva), protracting/ retracting the scapula often (shoulder instability) or failing to maintain a neutral back
  • You have no history of wrist or hand pain
Tips for Performing the Alligator Walk Suicide:
  • Walking backwards will feel almost two times harder than walking forward.  Anticipate this by taking your time backwards to focus on your form.
  • Do not slam or stop the hands into the ground.
  • Keep the shoulders and pelvis level to prevent rotation at the spine
  • BREATHE!  Do NOT hold your breath!

Why this exercise is effective:
  • Every time you lift a hand, an asymmetrical load is transferred from the single hand to the feet.  Preventing the hips from shifting or the shoulders and pelvis from tilting will require the core to stabilize.
  • The plank position will still require the transverse abdominis to fire and stabilize the lumbar spine/ low back.
  • To keep the hips and pelvis from dropping, the quadriceps and the rectus abdominis (six pack muscle) will have to work extra hard.
  • Cyclists will see big gains out of the saddle as a result of performing this exercise because it also trains the serratus anterior to endure the fatiguing effects caused by anaerobic metabolism.  Anytime you're out of the saddle or supported by your hands, the serratus will have to fire to stabilize the scapula/ shoulder.
If you want more videos showing core exercises for cyclists or simply want to leave feedback, please send me an e-mail (  I appreciate your feedback!  Good luck and enjoy!

Vincent is an ACE Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and holds a Baccalaureates Degree in Kinesiology from Indiana University Bloomington.  He races criteriums competitively and resides in Carmel, IN.  For Personal Training inquiries, contact him at  Follow or subscribe at Strava, the ESTSmart Strava Club, YouTube or Twitter (@ESTrainSmart).


  1. I enjoy reading this article.When it comes to work out and wellness.Being physically active helps you to maintain health and reduce risk of health problems.Great advice thank you so much.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Kinesiological Approach To Bike Fit: Cleat Position

CLEAT POSITION:  There are four types of adjustments which can be made to a cleat.
Fore/ Aft:  FORE:  Positioning the cleat forward allows the ankle to move more freely, allowing for a smoother pedal stroke.  The trade-off is that this requires more ankle stability, calf strength and puts the rider at risk of developing quad dominance.AFT:  This position limits ankle motion.  This provides added stability to the ankle, allowing the calves to rest, but makes the rider prone to bouncy pedal strokes.  When switching from a forward cleat position to a rearward position, a lower saddle position is needed to compensate for decreased plantarflexion.Lateral/ Medial:  The goal is to spread weight evenly across the foot side-to-side.LATERAL:  Shifts weight towards the outside of the foot (small toe side).MEDIAL:  Shifts more weight onto the medial side of the foot (big toe side).  Limits the maximum amount of external rotation available before the heel strikes the crank arm.Rotation:EXTERNAL:  S…

How To Hold an Aero Position

There are climbs and then there are winds.  For many cyclists, riding into a strong wind can be more difficult than climbing, mostly because cyclists are required to reach a low aerodynamic position which can be uncomfortable, difficult or painful to hold.  Cyclists must demonstrate adequatehamstringandlower backflexibility to hold an aero position comfortably.  The flexibility needed to ride well in the wind can take time to develop, but with enough dedication and experience, anyone can become proficient at holding an aero position safely.  Here are some steps you can take to make holding an aero posture as comfortable as being on the hoods:

The worst thing a rider could do is force a low aero position and hope for the best.  With low back pain being one of the most frequent complaints among pros and recreational cyclist alike, the chances of long term pain- or injury-free riding are slim.  Develop the flexibility first, then shoot for the next lowest position yo…

Eagle Creek Park Cycling Grand Prix v2.0 - FIRST PLACE & FIRST PODIUM FINISH!

I can't even begin to describe how awesome it felt to have two dreams come true at once!  I always wondered what it would be like to be on the podium, but I never thought I had a chance at first place!

THE COURSE Below is a map of the course highlighted in blue.  It ran counterclockwise.  There were a few corners that stuck out to me.
Bottom right (corner #1):  This wasn't a very sharp corner, but the trees and brush made it difficult to see around it, so the group had a tendency to slow down and merge into a single line here.
Top right (corner #2):  This corner was very sharp, so oftentimes the group would merge into one or two pacelines, especially at higher speeds.
Top left (corner #3):  The inside half of this corner was covered by loose asphalt, so it wasn't an ideal or safe place to pass.  Pretty much everyone had to take a very awkward, wide line.  We could only fit about three abreast in this corner.
Bottom left (corner #4):  This was a very fast corner that led straigh…