Yoga For Cyclists/Spinners

Whether you cycle on roadways, dare-devil mountain bike, or spin away on your Peloton, you’ve probably spent time on two wheels. Like my previous Yoga for Runners, Yoga for Cyclists addresses repetitive motion: When cycling, you sit and you pedal, using the same muscles and joints in the same way over and over again.

The more you do, the stronger those muscles become, in certain movements, which is good! What’s not so good is that other muscles (the “antagonist” or opposing muscles) can atrophy, creating imbalances throughout the body. Cycling also primarily strengthens the lower body, neglecting the upper torso, shoulders, and arms.

To do the most good with the least harm, follow these simple tips:

  1. GOOD FORM is everything!

Adjust your seat so that you can fully straighten your leg on the down stroke without having to reach. Why? Your hip flexors get a break when you can extend the leg. Your glutes kick in, and your hamstrings lengthen.

Unless you’re racing, use a bike with handlebars that allow you to sit up straight most of the time. Why? This keeps your back from rounding and your neck from hyper-extending (hunchback posture).

Press down through the inner foot (ball of big toe), never rolling onto your outer arch. Why? This keeps your outer hip and thigh (IT band) from tightening and recruits the often weak inner thighs (adductors), as well as stabilizing the knee and ankle.

Many people cycle with their knees bowing out to the sides, tightening the outer hip and thigh and weakening the internal rotators and inner thighs. Strengthen the inner thighs by lying on your back, squeezing a yoga block or rolled towel between your thighs or shins, and doing some crunches or “two-legged bicycles.”

Strengthen the internal rotators by lying on your side, turning the top leg in (toes pointing down), and lifting and lowering the leg.


Done properly, biking works front, back, inner, and outer thighs and calves/shins, so focus on strengthening what’s not being recruited:

  • Internal rotators
  • External rotators
  • Hip extensors (gluteus maximus)
  • Abdominals
  • “Postural muscles” (Upper back/back of shoulders)

Stretching restores muscles to full range of movement and prevents injuries. Sustained yoga practice over time is the best approach, but do stretch these muscles immediately after a long ride:

  • Psoas
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • IT band
  • Adductors
  • Calves
  • Shins
  • Chest

Not sure what to do or where to start? Contact me for a focused lesson, where I can create a yoga-based routine that addresses your individual body, including any past or current injuries, and your current or ideal level of activity. I always seek “the workaround,” finding ways for people to stay active despite physical setbacks!

And check out my upcoming posts on Facebook/Meta, Instagram, and Twitter for specific tips on how to best strengthen and stretch for cycling. The World Cup is history—see you at the Tour de France!

Yoga News Jan 23, 2023

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