Earlier in the year we teamed up with the bike fitting experts, Velo Atelier, to bring you six simple - but challenging - stretches for cyclists. We've joined forces again to bring you six essential strength exercises.

Being both supple and strong on the bike are key to unlocking your potential performance. Whatever your discipline is, you need to have a certain level of flexibility to be able to adopt those race positions, and to throw your weight around the bike at the drop of a pedal.

We've worked with Dorte Jensen, who is a level 3 pilates instructor with over five years experience. The stretches in these videos aren’t likely to be unknown to you, but she’ll demonstrate the correct way to carry them out and highlight common errors which can hamper the effects of the stretch. Here are the cycling stretch videos we did earlier this year:

Moving on to strength exercises...

It isn't just about having a flexible and supple body though. Having a strong core is more than just a six pack, it includes your pelvis, lumbar, abs and much more. This group of muscles is responsible for fending off early onset fatigue, keeping a stable riding position and distributing your weight efficiently.

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So we've been working closely with Dorte Jensen at Velo Atelier to bring you six strengthening exercises to improve your core and body support on the bike. Last week we posted an exercise that can help strengthen the core neck muscles, and this week we're moving onto our abdominals.

Yes, it's those very muscles that contribute the most to that elusive six pack, but your abdominals play a big part on the bike. The abs provide a layer of muscle that connects the core muscles together. They're function is to provide strength and support, especially important for holding a static frame on the road, or needing some strong dynamic movements on the trails.

The short video below will demonstrate a simple floor exercise which will help improve the strength of your abdominal muscles. Give it a try, but don't be deceived by how easy it looks!

By dedicating a few minutes of your day to strength and stretch exercises, you'll begin to feel the difference on your bike in no time. Even if you squeeze it into your lunch break at work, I'm sure no one will mind.

The team at Velo Atelier offer ‘products for the discerning cyclist’ – they work with physiotherapists to provide clinical bike fitting, as well as coaching, saddle mapping, custom frame building, and pilates classes to name just a few.

You may also enjoy:

Core training part 1: Flexibility

Core training part 2: Strength

Video: Strengthen that Neck