7 Exercises for Cyclists to Do at Home

To improve your cycling performance, you have to get off the bike. It sounds strange, but that’s exactly how it is.

In particular, there are some exercises to do to develop the muscles of the whole body, which will help us to be more efficient on the bike (and also to have less pain).

Here are 7 exercises that we recommend you perform in this way: one or two sets for each exercise, with a repetition rate of four seconds per side, unless otherwise indicated.

1. Extended leg

It will come as no surprise that your quads get tired during cycling, especially the rectus femoris which is the only one that runs along the hip. This exercise works on the ability to contract this muscle effectively. It can also have the added benefit of relaxing the tendons in the knee.

Lie on your back and slowly raise your leg, keeping it extended and contracted, about 60 cm off the ground. Hold this position for five seconds, trying to keep your leg as straight as possible. Relax the leg on the floor before repeating five more times.

2. Lateral plank

Studies have shown that the torso also rotates laterally during cycling. Therefore, strengthening the muscles responsible for this movement is a good idea. The lateral plank is often used to work these muscles. 

Lie on your side and pull your waist away from the floor by contracting the muscles between your rib cage and pelvis. Hold this position for 10 seconds before slowly lowering your waist to the floor and repeating.

3. Lunge (strides)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slide one foot back until your knee touches the floor. Then start to slowly push up using the front leg. 

4. Spinal column extension

The muscles of the lower back contribute significantly to cycling. It has also been shown that weakness of these muscles can cause pain, especially when climbing.

Lie face down on the floor on two pillows, and make sure the front of your pelvis touches the floor. Place the pillows under your trunk until your nose almost touches the floor. Now begin to slowly extend the spine, lifting the torso as high as possible without moving the pelvis.

To make the exercise more challenging, place your hands on the back of your neck without pressure. Repeat until you feel a slight fatigue in the lumbar muscles.

5. Calves

The calf muscles play an important role in both the transmission of force when pushing on the pedals and in the flexion of the knees when “pulling” upwards. 

Face a wall or the back of a chair. Shift the weight to one leg and raise the arch of the foot as high as possible. Hold this position for one second before slowly lowering your heel without touching the ground. Do at least thirty repetitions.

6. Lateral hip abduction

Weakness of the hip abductor muscles is often associated with knee pain. In particular, patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial fascia friction syndrome. Hip abductor training will help prevent many aches and pains. 

Lie on your side with your leg bent. Support your head with one arm and rest the hand of the other arm on the top of your pelvis to control any unwanted movement. Lock the top knee and start to slowly lift the leg. As you lift your leg, make sure that it does not move forward in flexion relative to the hip, and that the pelvis does not move towards the rib cage. Stay in this position for a second, before slowly lowering your leg towards the floor. Stop when you feel your pelvis start to lower towards your feet, and repeat.

7. Push-ups

What home exercise programme would it be without push-ups? 

Lie on your stomach and place your hands at chest level and your elbows at shoulder level. Bring your elbows as far back as possible and as close to your hips as possible. And now, up and down, up and down. Come on! Everybody knows how to do push-ups!

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