The repetitive nature of cycling often leads to muscular imbalances and postural issues. In this article, we’ll explore a series of exercises specifically tailored to address common cycling-specific non-desirable adaptations, which I often recommend to my bikefitting clients. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can enhance your cycling efficiency and reduce the risk of injury. In the previous blog, we explored some isolating exercises; now that we’ve activated certain muscles, we can move onto more integrative exercises.

Prone Cobra

Why we care: It’s interesting because it puts our back into extension, contrary to the flexed back position commonly seen while cycling. Additionally, when cycling, there is some neck extension due to the need to look at the road, so this exercise is beneficial to counteract this posture.

How to do it: Start by lying on your stomach with feet and knees together, and glutes squeezed. Raise your sternum a few centimeters off the ground while breathing in, and externally rotate your shoulders with your arms back 45° to your body. Keep your chin tucked in and hold for 3 to 6 seconds before exhaling and lowering down. Aim for 10 reps.

Progression: When you can hold the position statically for 3 minutes with great form, try lifting up the legs at the back while activating the glutes. Focus on feeling the glutes working the most, not the lower back musculature.

Supine Hip Extension – Back on Ball

Why we care: This exercise activates the glutes, which are crucial for controlling the pedaling action at sustainable intensities. It also dynamically stretches the hip flexors, which stay in a flexed position while cycling.

How to do it: Lie down with your head and shoulders against the stability ball, with your feet resting on the ground. Push your buttocks all the way up through your heels, squeezing the glutes, and pause briefly before lowering down for 2 seconds while exhaling. Pause for 1 second at the bottom before returning to the tabletop position while inhaling for 2 seconds. Perform 10 reps.

Progression: You can progress by doing the exercise with one leg at a time, extending the resting leg parallel to the floor.

Supine Hip Extension with Knee Flexion – Feet on Ball

Why we care: This exercise activates the hamstring muscles, essential for pulling back at the bottom of the stroke, right before 6 o’clock. It also strengthens the posterior chain of the legs, which is often weakened so people display an anterior pelvic tilt.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your feet on the Swiss ball. Lift your butt up and, while inhaling, move slowly your feet away, keeping your hips extended at 180°. Return calmly to the starting position while exhaling.

Supine Lateral Ball Roll

Why we care: Cycling primarily works in the sagittal plane, so exercises in the frontal and transverse planes are beneficial for coordination and offsetting cycling-specific adaptations.

How to do it: Lie on your head and shoulders on a Swiss ball, squeezing the glutes while pushing into the ground with your heels. Keep your knees at a 90° angle and your arms extended to your sides, holding a dowel parallel to the ground. Shuffle your feet while rolling your upper body off the ball to one side, maintaining good body alignment. Hold for 10 seconds and go to the other side, keep alternating. Aim for 6 repetitions per side.

Progression: You will roll further off the ball naturally as you become better. Try to build up to a single 3-minute static hold per side with great form.

As cyclists, our bodies endure repetitive motions and prolonged periods of static positioning. To mitigate the negative effects of these demands, targeted exercises can make a significant difference. Remember, consistency and proper form are key to reaping the full benefits of these exercises. If an exercise doesn’t feel right, stop and ensure your form is correct. A mirror and/or a spotter filming can be really useful. We want the exercises to be challenging, but if you can’t perform them with proper form, don’t hesitate to regress them. So, invest in your body’s well-being and elevate your cycling experience with these tailored workouts.

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One Response

  1. Any tips pour une forme moins engagée des deux derniers exos? Je viens de me taper une énorme tranche de rire sur l’avant dernier à essayer de tenir ma swiss ball dans l’axe mais j’avoue que j’y suis pas là ^^ #help
    Mais merci pour ces exos, article au top!

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About the Author

Joffrey Degueurce

Joffrey Degueurce

JD. French road and track cyclist for EuroCyclingTrips - CMI Pro Cycling and Giant Dijon Track Team. Bike fitter. Vegan athlete.

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