Sometimes it can be nice to just have a couple of go-to ideas in your back pocket. I’ve been thinking for a while now, if I could have all cyclists just do a couple of preventative exercises, what would they be? I have complied my 10 Best Injury Prevention Exercises for Cyclists. Enjoy!
Why This Works:
Obviously, everyone is different. If you have an injury or imbalance that you are already working on then keep doing those specific exercises. This routine is for people who are already injury-free and want to work on common imbalances to stay that way. This routine takes 3 things into consideration:
- Common Cycling Injuries: It targets areas of the body that are most susceptible to cycling injuries including the back and the knees.
- Common Cycling Imbalances: This routine targets areas that often get forgotten by cyclists. For example- we spend so much time moving forward that we forget to exercise the muscles that move us side to side.
- The Demands of Cycling: This routine considers what cycling demands of an individual and helps to prepare someone to stand up to those demands. For example, cyclists need a strong core.
10 Best Injury Prevention Exercises for Cyclists
Begin on your hands and knees in a quadruped position. Focus on having your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Think about having a flat back. Now, extend your right arm and left leg straight out until they are parallel with the floor. Maintain a flat spine, level hips, and pull your belly button inward. Return to the starting position and do it again with the other arm and leg.
- Sets/Reps: Complete 2 x 10 Reps on Each Side
- What it Does: This exercise helps to engage the core in a way that can help to prevent back pain
Lay on your back with you arms straight up in the air and your legs straight up in the air and the knees bent to 90 degrees. Slowly lower your right arm and left leg (straight the leg as you lower it) until they are both hovering just above the ground. Focus on making sure that your lower back is firmly against the ground the entire time. Return to your starting position and then complete the same with the other arm and leg.
- Sets/Reps: Complete 2 x 10 Reps on Each Side
- What it Does: This exercise helps to prevent low back pain through core engagement.
3. Clam Shells
Lay on your side with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your hips bent to 45 degrees and your legs stacked on top of each other. Lift your top knee away from the bottom knee while keeping your feet together. Add a band around your thighs for added resistance.
- Sets/Reps: 2 Sets of 10 Reps on Each Side
- What it Does: This helps engage the Glute Medius which is under activated when cycling. This can help prevent knee pain.
4. Glute Bridges
Lay on your back and bend your knees until your feet can lay comfortably flat on the ground. Then flex your glutes and lift your back off the ground until only your shoulder blades and feet are in contact with the ground.
- Sets/Reps: 2 Sets of 10 Reps each side
- What it Does: Helps engage the glutes! This can make you stronger/more efficient on the bike as well as help prevent knee pain and back pain by assisting with pelvic alignment.
5. Lunge Stretch
Take a large step forward. Then keep the back leg straight and bend the front knee. Bend the front knee until you feel a good stretch in your hip flexor on the opposite leg. If your front knee begins to creep over your toes, then take a larger step forward.
- Sets/Reps: Hold for at least 30 seconds each side
- What Does it Do: This helps stretch the hip flexors. When the hip flexors are too tight they can pull the pelvis forward and create back pain.
Stabilize yourself on your forearms and toes. Focus on having a flat back from the top of your head all the way through your toes.
- Sets/Reps: Begin with just 20-30 seconds and build up to 2 minutes.
- What Does it Do: Helps to increase abdominal endurance and strength.
7. Leg Raises
Lay on your back. Raise your legs until they are straight up in the air. Lower your legs until they are just hovering above the ground. Keep your legs straight. Keep your back pressed against the ground the entire time.
- Sets/Reps: 2 Sets of 15 raises
- What Does it Do: This helps to strengthen the lower abdominals and creates stabilization of the spine.
8. IT Band Foam Rolling
Lay on your side, with the foam roller on the side of your thigh. Move a couple inches at a time and pause whenever you feel a tender area.
- Sets/Reps: Foam roll for at least 30 seconds each leg
- What Does It Do: This can help to release tension in the IT Band and loosen the fibers, which can help to decrease tension and pain in the knees.
9. Quad Stretch
Standing or laying down, put your heal toward your glutes.
- Sets/Reps: 30 seconds per leg
- What Does It Do: Stretching the quads can help prevent both knee and hip pain.
10. Single Leg RDL
Keeping both legs straight, stand on one leg, and hinge forward while keeping a flat back. You can hold weights in your hands or complete this body weight.
- Sets/Reps: 2 x 10 Reps per leg
- What Does It Do: This helps to strengthen the hamstrings. As a quad dominant sport, activating the hamstrings can help with typical cycling imbalances.
There You Have It!
Try completing these 10 exercises 1 or 2 times a week to help prevent injury and to help you become a more well-rounded cyclist.