Exercises for Cyclists
A lot of bike fit issues have to do with the fitness level of the rider's body. These are just a few exercises we regularly prescribe to fit clients. You won't hurt yourself by doing these if you apply common sense.
Hamstring stretches allow you to get lower on your bike and actually use the quads to their full effect. Tight hamstrings need to be stretched to allow you to pedal comfortably and without pain. Loose hams allow you to maintain your position on the bike over a long ride.
Heel taps are essential to building a good base. This exercise strengthens the core which will support your pelvis and give a rigid platform for the legs to push up against. This exercise can be modified by doing one leg at a time. A full set of ten would be left-right alternating taps ten times each. The resting leg is aloft and bent at 90º.
Tight hip flexors are the bane of many cyclists' existence. Loose hip flexors let your legs work independently throughout the pedal stroke. If they're tight, one leg will be constantly resisting the other as one pushes down and the other comes up. Tight hip flexors impact your efficiency and directly contribute to lower back pain.
IT Band stretches help keep your tissue loose and free of pain. This stretch helps to loosen knees that are tracking funny and pulling on your legs due to the collapsed/nonexistent arches. A loose IT band will improve the knees' stability through the pedal stroke, build long-range comfort, reduce the knees' fatigue, and help avoid injury in the future.
Roll your IT band out for ninety seconds doing slow passes from the hip to just above the knee as shown in the video below. Both legs. It gets easier and looser. This is a very general and common exercise, but it can work wonders for cyclists.
Physical Therapist Noel Lozares explains that the IT band isn't actually stretched by the roller. The IT band is like a steel cable. The rollers are for loosening up the surrounding tissue, fascia, to allow the IT band to run smoothly. The piriformis and gluteus medius muscles, at the base of the IT band, are the ones that need to be stretched to achieve permanent results.
Standing Quadricep stretches are common, straightforward exercises that help your flexibility and strength.