7 Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Muscle Cramps

Muscles that cross two joints are even more prone to cramping. They are:

  • Rectus femoris: One of the quadriceps muscles that bends your hip and straightens your knee.
  • Gastrocnemius: The fleshy calf muscle that points your toes down when contracted.
  • Hamstrings: The fleshy muscles at the back of the thigh that raise the heel of your foot towards your butt when contracted.

Strengthening Exercises

If you've had a muscle cramp or if you notice that certain muscles fatigue quicker when you ride than others, you'll want to concentrate your efforts on strengthening these muscles.

Start with one set of 15 reps of the exercise. Gradually increase the reps and then sets until you are doing three sets of 20 reps. Do the exercises on three non-consecutive days during a week.

More: 3 Leg-Strengthening Exercises for Cyclists

And you don't need to join a gym. All you need to get started is an exercise ball and a few resistance bands.

1. Lunges (Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Gluteals): The lunge is an excellent exercise for cyclists because it works multiple muscle groups at the same time. To begin, step 2 to 3 feet forward with your right foot and lower you left knee toward the floor. Go down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your right knee in line with your ankle so that you can still see your toes. Return to standing and repeat with left leg. Alternate right and left legs for each set. Start with no weight. When you can do 3 sets of 20 reps, do the exercise using resistance bands or holding dumbbells.

2. Split squats (Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Gluteals): If you have a chronic knee injury, split squats are a good alternative to lunges. Step 2 to 3 feet forward with your right foot. Lower your left knee toward the floor until your right thigh is parallel and come back up—that's one rep. Return to the starting position and lower your left knee again. Complete all 15 repetitions with the right knee forward before switching legs. When you can do 3 sets of 20 reps, add weight.

More: 6 Reasons Cyclists Should Start Strength Training

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