3 Posture Exercises to Keep You Cycling Strong

This exercise will unlock your hip flexors and improve flexibility in your lower back. The psoas muscle is your primary hip flexor. Hip flexion occurs every time the femur moves towards the pelvis (like when pedaling a bicycle). The psoas is the only muscle that crosses the upper and lower body, connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the thighbone (femur). It's your deepest and most powerful core muscle.

As the psoas becomes tight and short, the lumbar vertebrae are pulled forward, creating an exaggerated curve in the lower back. Knee drops lengthen the psoas by moving the femurs away from the pelvis through rotation, mobilizing the lower back. As an added benefit, you'll feel a stretch of the quadriceps, another key cycling muscle.

More: 4 Ways to Fix Anterior Knee Pain From Cycling

Posture Exercise #3: Leg Lifts

Lie on your back propped up on your elbows with one leg straight and the other leg bent at 90 degrees. Roll your pelvis forward to put an arch in your low back. Maintain this position throughout the exercise. This pelvic position is critical to performing the exercise correctly and getting the most benefit.

Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together. Look straight ahead. Flex your extended foot back towards you, being careful to pull the big toe and pinky toe equally so that your foot is flat, not rotated. Tighten your quad by pushing your knee into the ground. Lift the extended leg until your thighs are parallel, then lower. Repeat for 10 to 20 repetitions before switching sides.

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This exercise strengthens the hip flexors. Although your hip flexors are tight it does not mean they are strong. The opposite is equally true; a tight, shorten muscle is a weak, dysfunctional muscle. Muscles create the most force at a certain length and tension. The first two exercises lengthen the psoas while this exercise retrains proper muscle function. Both are needed to generate maximal power on the bike.

More: How to Prevent the 6 Most Common Cycling Injuries

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