Here are two yoga-based exercises that can help bolster those potential weak spots in our female cycling anatomy. Both these exercises have been tweaked to be riding-relevant. These type of ground contact exercises will boost power, help prevent injuries and improve bone density.

The Cycling Bridge

Female cyclists tend to rely on the quads and underuse the glutes or buttocks. Bolstering particularly gluteaus maximus to ensure it is a prime mover in the pedal stroke will take the pressure off the knees and let riders tap into a major muscle power source. This single-legged version is cycling-specific and addresses potential leg imbalances.

Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor with the toes facing forwards. Place your arms by your side, palms down.

Press your belly into the floor and maintain this pelvis position as you raise your hips off the floor as high as possible.

Now shift your weight into the right foot and raise the left leg up, keeping a slightly bent (pedaling shaped) leg. Slowly shift from side to side maintaining hip height. Minimise hip rocking or dipping. Repeat x10 (five leg lifts on each side).


The Pedalling Plank

Being generally less developed in the upper back and shoulder area, female riders can benefit from holding Planks. This is partly to improve the transfer of power from handlebars to pedals in climbing, but also to prevent aches in the neck/upper back as the miles tick by. This version takes the weight off the wrists and mimicks a riding stance.

Start in all fours. Now lower onto your forearms, positioning them in so they are shoulder-width and parallel with the elbows are directly under the shoulders (a little like riding on the drops). Turn your toes under and shuffle your feet away until your body drops into a flat Plank position.

Keep your upper body still and slowly lower one knee to the ground, then the other.

Shift smoothly from side to side.

Repeat x12 (side knee dips on each side).

Lexie Williamson is a Yoga Sports Science ® instructor and author of Yoga for Cyclists (Bloomsbury Publishing). She has worked one to one with many cyclists and direct with clubs including the Kent Velo Ladies and London Dynamos. |

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