Five Best Prehab Exercises for Cyclists

San Diego movement & mobility chiropractors share 5 exercises to prevent injuries that are common among cyclists.

Cycling and spin classes have been rapidly growing in popularity. It’s fun, low impact, and great for all fitness levels. However, being the huge nerd that I am, I wanted to look at some of the predictable injuries in this sport.

I took a number of classes from different teachers and was sure to pick their brains after each one. We chatted about some of the common problems they see and combined that with my clinical experience to come up with some prehab exercises.

Here are 5 prehab exercises for the most common injuries seen in cyclists. (Don’t know what prehab is? Think rehab, but before an injury.)

Ankle Mobility

We see achilles tendonitis all the time in cyclists. Having good dorsiflexion in the ankle will decrease the stress on the tendon and help avoid injuries from overuse. Try this drill for 2-4 minutes with or without weight.

Ankle Mobility: Dorsiflexion

Psoas Release

When you’re on the bike, the hip is in a flexed position. Spending a bunch of time in this position is tough on the hip flexor and can make it short. Releasing the psoas can be as easy as laying on a ball and breathing. Take deep belly breaths and spend 2 minutes on each side. Avoid the ribs!

Psoas Release

Hamstring Curls

Experienced cyclists know that it is important to not only push, but also PULL the pedal. Activating the glutes and hamstrings before you cycle will allow you to use them more and put less of the workload on the quads. Try 12-15 reps of these before getting on the bike. Too easy? Try one leg.

Hamstring Curl

Neck Retractions

This drill can help release the suboccipitals and bring the head into a more functional position. We often see neck pain and headaches in cyclists because they have to hold their head up to look forward. Drill these neck retractions after class. Add a towel for some slight resistance. We can also smash the suboccipitals with a double lacrosse ball. Say “yes” 20 times and “no” 20 times.

Neck Retractions

Ball Slams With Rotation

Cycling is done almost exclusively in the sagittal plane (forward or backward). This means there's a lack of rotational movement. The core is meant to stabilize the spine and transfer energy between the upper and lower extremities. This variation of the ball slam will train the rotational movement that is lacking in cycling. Try 8-10 per side.

Ball Slams With Rotation


Cycling or spinning is a great exercise and we highly recommend it because of the physical and mental benefits. While injuries are sometimes unavoidable, there are things you can do to help prevent them. With that being said, try adding these prehab exercises to your off-the-bike routine.

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Lastly, if you want to practice these exercises live with Dr. Ryan, you're in luck! We will be featuring these exercises in our upcoming community class. Click here to learn more.

Are you in pain and need immediate non-invasive relief? Book an appointment with Dr. Ryan, in our San Diego chiropractic clinic. Specializing in movement & mobility, he can help you find the cause of your pain, fix it and prevent it from reoccurring.