Top 9 exercises for Cycling


Whether you're planning on taking on the Tour De France, cycling in the Peak, commuting to work or enjoying a weekend ride with the kids, here's our top exercises to keep you injury free on and off the bike.

For detailed explanations of the exercises, including pictures, click here

1. Foam roller thoracic spine

This is great for keeping the upper back nice and loose, reducing neck, mid and lower back niggles you might get on and off the bike. It is a great exercise to work on regularly. Aim to make sure the head and neck are supported by your hands and in-line with your body when doing this and focus on rolling the part of the back where the ribcage is, no need to roll the lower back or neck.

2. Side plank with hip flexion

A great exercise for working / strengthening the core, specifically the obliques and glutes on the top leg, you will also work the shoulder / arm on the supporting side, which is important for bike handling. Aim to maintain good form, breathing from the tummy and keep comfortable on the back.

3. Bulgarian / rear foot elevated split squat

This exercise should be a key part of any cyclist's strengthening regime, as it targets the key leg muscles for cycling. You also get the nice bonus of good stretch through the quads and hip flexor muscles on the back leg, muscles which can be overworked on the bike. Keep slow and controlled, aim for good form and look to gradually progress this with weights.

4. Plank knee to chest

The high plank is great for working the upper body, key for bike handling, working the core to take pressure off the back and with this variation you work the hip flexors too, which are key for cycling. Aim to maintain good form throughout the exercise, breathing from the tummy and keeping this comfortable on the back.

5. Romanian / stiff leg deadlift

This exercise is particularly great for cyclists, as it works the body into the position you will be in on the bike. It also helps to lengthen the hamstrings to help you get more 'aero' on the bike, should your cycling require this. Ensure the movement comes from the hip, keeping the back straight and knees soft, feeling this working in the hamstrings, glutes and core, keep this comfortable on the back. Start slow and controlled and once you feel you have mastered the movement, look to gradually load this with weights.

6. Table top alternate leg lowers

Here we are looking to work the lower abdominals, to help take pressure off the back and also work on the control of the hip flexors, key cycling muscles. Keep this slow and controlled, ensure breathing whilst you perform and keep comfortable on the back. Once mastered you can look to progress this by having a resistance band around the feet, working against the resistance of the band.

7. Reverse Nordic

The Reverse Nordic exercise strengthens and lengthens the quads and hip flexor muscles, key and often overworked muscles in cyclists. You can use this exercise as part of your cool down / recovery routine post cycling, to help ease tension in the quads and hip flexors. You can also look to load this exercise with weights and have it as part of your strength training regime. Ensure this is comfortable on the knees by padding the knees, kneeling on a Yoga matt, folded towel, pillow or cushion.

8. Quads stretch

Perform this simple stretch post cycling or exercise to help ease tension in the quads muscles. Aim to hold for 1-2 mins.

9. Arm openings / thoracic rotations in side lying (open book)

This is another key thoracic mobility exercise, again great for easing neck, mid and lower back niggles and for easing any tension you may have built up in the back on the bike. Make sure head is supported on a pillow or cushion, aim to pelvis and legs still to focus the movement on the rib cage / thoracic spine.

Steve Canning

Clinical Director & Senior Physiotherapist

Steve is the Clinical Director and a Senior Physiotherapist at the White House clinic and has worked at the clinic since 2005. He qualified with a BSc in Physiotherapy from Sheffield Hallam University in 2002.

Steve Canning

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