This “Yoga For Cyclists” Routine Eases Body Parts That Take Strain During Training

Video demonstrations included.


Amy Hopkins |

I am a qualified yoga instructor and an avid cyclist, so I’ve created the ideal yoga-for-cyclists routine to help ease parts of my body that take strain during training. The routine begins with a warm-up, followed by postures focused on relieving tension and stretching out parts of the body most affected by hours spent on the bike. This whole routine should take you about 30 minutes, depending on how long you stay in each posture.

Yoga For Cyclists warm-up:

3 x rounds of Sun Salutation A:

Complete the first round slowly and with intention. Staying in each posture for a few breaths before moving on to the next. For the second and third rounds move on the inhale and exhale as instructed below.

  1. Tadasana: Begin with your feet together, standing straight up, pelvis tilted slightly forwards, hands at your heart centre.
  2. High Mountain: Inhale as you lift your hands and arms up towards the ceiling, looking up towards your hands.
  3. Forward Fold: Exhale as you fold forward, hinging from your hips, allowing your hands to graze the floor, bringing your nose to touch your knees or shins (or as close as you can get), legs straight. (Spend a few moments here in the first round reaching for your toes, gently bending the knees one at a time.)
  4. Halfway Lift: Inhale as you lift up, hands pressed against your shins, spine straight, looking towards the floor.
  5. Chaturanga Dandasana: Exhale as you place your hands on the mat/floor, step your feet back into a high-plank position and with elbows tucked into your waist, lower down into a push-up position until the tops of your arms are parallel to the floor.
  6. Upward Facing Dog: Inhale as you roll over your toes, pressing the tops of your feet into the floor. At the same time, press your hands into the floor to lift your torso upwards, opening your chest, tilting your head backwards as your draw your shoulder blades together. Lift the knees and thighs off the floor. (Spend a few moments here in the first round stretching the back.)
  7. Downward Facing Dog: Exhale as you roll back over your feet so the soles are now on the floor and lift your hips up towards the ceiling, creating a triangle-like shape with the body. Reach your chest closer towards your thighs as you gaze at your feet, ankles reaching for the floor. (Spend a few moments here in the first round gently bending the knees one at a time.)
  8. Halfway Lift: Inhale as you step your feet towards your hands and then lift up, hands pressed against your shins, spine straight, looking towards the floor.
  9. Forward Fold: Exhale as you fold forward, hinging from your hips, allowing your hands to graze the floor, bringing your nose to touch your knees or shins (or as close as you can get), legs straight.
  10. High Mountain: Inhale as you lift your hands and arms up towards the ceiling, looking up towards your hands.
  11. Tadasana: Exhale, lower your hands to your heart centre.

    Watch the video below for visual instructions on how to do SUN SALUTATION A:

READ MORE: Try This 30-Minute HIIT Workout At Home For A Total-Body Burn

Yoga for lower back pain

This section of the Yoga-For-Cyclists routine focuses on our lower back, which takes a lot of strain when we’re hunched over. Remember to focus on the breath and allow your body to show you its limits. You should never experience any kind of searing pain in yoga. Discomfort is common when our bodies are tight. Use the breath to ease you into the postures.

  1. Forward-Fold to Rag Doll: From standing, exhale as you fold forward, hinging from your hips, allowing your hands to graze the floor, bringing your nose to touch your knees or shins (or as close as you can get), legs straight. Now grab hold of opposite elbows. Sway gently from left to right. Stay here for 30 seconds.
  2. Child’s Pose + extension to each side: From Forward-Fold, kneel down on to the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees wider than your hips, towards the edges of your mat. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs, extending your arms and hands out in front of you, palms down. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck. You’re constantly reaching to get your hips to touch your heels and forehead to rest on the mat. Stay here for 10 breaths. Walk your hands 20cm over to the left, placing your right palm on top of your left hand. Feel the stretch on the right side of the body. Stay here for 5 breaths. Then repeat on the other side.
  3. Sphinx Pose: Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs extended behind you, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides and your chin on the mat. Press the tops of your feet into the mat and spread your toes. Do not tuck your toes, as this can crunch your spine. Bring your arms up and rest your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor, parallel to each other. Point your middle fingers directly forward. As you inhale, press your forearms into the floor and lift your head and chest off the floor. Press your pelvis into the floor. Roll your outer thighs slightly towards the floor to help lengthen your lower back. Drop your shoulder blades down your back and draw your chest forward. Stay here for 30 seconds.
  4. Crocodile Pose: From Sphinx, lower yourself to the mat so your whole body is on the ground, stomach-side down. Keep your elbows tucked in at your sides, palms facing down. Bring your hands to the front of the mat. Slowly place one forearm on top of the other. Lift your upper body to stretch your lower back for one round of breath and then rest your forehead on your forearms. Now turn your right foot so that the toes point out to the right. Turn the left foot so that the toes point out to the left. Stay here for up to one minute.
  5. Supine Twist with Windshield Wiper Legs: Turn around, so you’re lying down on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms stretched out to the sides in a T-shape. Gently lower your knees to the left side of your body, keeping both shoulder blades on the mat, and place knees on the floor. Gaze right and breathe. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Now begin to rock knees gently from the left side up and over to the right side. The knees will separate naturally. Do this for a further 30 seconds.

    Watch the video below for visual instructions on how to do the above postures:

READ MORE: Which Is A Better Cardio Workout: Running Or Cycling?

Yoga for hip opening

This section of the Yoga-For-Cyclists routine focuses on tight hips. If you have tight hips from running or cycling, these five hip-opening poses may feel uncomfortable. Allow the body to settle into each posture and focus on your breathing. Stay in each posture for 10 breaths (or 30 seconds). Remember that in yoga you should never experience any kind of searing pain, but some discomfort occurs when our bodies are tight. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.

  1. Fire-Log Pose: From a seated position, begin by lifting the right ankle and placing it directly on top of the left knee. Imagine you are stacking one shin on top of each other like logs, so that your knees are forming a triangle with the centre point being your pelvis. You may need to take a few moments to adjust the right knee directly on top of the centre of the left foot. If your hips are tight and your knee lifts, place a folded towel beneath the knee. Sit up with the crown of your head reaching towards the ceiling, resting the hands in your lap or over your legs. Stay here 30 seconds. Gently release legs, extending straight out in front of you. Then repeat on the other side.
  2. Cow Face Pose: Legs
    Begin seated with legs out in front of you, arms resting at your sides. Begin to cross one leg on top of the other one, starting with the right knee stacked directly on top of the left knee (left foot points out to the right next to the right hip and right foot points out to the left next to the left hip). Shift your weight from side to side gently until you are sitting on both sit bones. Arms — If your right leg is on top, your right arm is then the arm bending from the bottom. Extend your left arm up towards the ceiling with your palm facing forward. Then, bend your left elbow and bring your left hand to your spine. Extend your right arm to the side with your palm facing down. Internally rotate your arm so your palm faces behind you. Then, bend your right elbow and bring your right hand up the centre of your back. Tuck your forearm into the hollow of your low back. Roll your shoulders back and down. If possible, hook the fingers of both hands. Draw both elbows towards the body. Hold the pose for 30 seconds up to one minute. Gently release and uncross arms and legs, returning to a seat with legs extended straight out in front of you. Then repeat on the other side.
  3. Child’s Pose: Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees wider than your hips, towards the edges of your mat. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs, extending your arms and hands out in front of you, palms down. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck. You’re constantly reaching to get your hips to touch your heels and forehead to rest on the mat. Stay here for one minute.
  4. Runner’s Lunge: Begin in a plank position with hands directly below shoulders. Step your right foot forward to the outer edge of your mat next to your right pinky finger. Relax through your hips and back, letting them sink toward the ground. Bring your forearms down to the mat (*option to drop the back knee to the mat and release the foot), clasping hands. Hold for 30 seconds, focusing on your breath. Then repeat on the other side.
  5. Half Pigeon Pose: From high plank, bring your right foot towards your right wrist, then set your knee and shin on the mat. Straighten your left leg back (your legs will resemble the shape of the number 7). For most yogis, aligning your shin parallel to the front edge of your mat is not accessible. Rather focus on your level of flexibility and place your heel a comfortable distance from your groin. Align your right knee in line with your right hip and flex your right foot. Sit up straight as you inhale. Exhale to walk your hands forwards and come down onto your forearms. Stay here for one round of breath. Exhale to extend hands forehead and place your forehead on the mat. Stay here for at least 30 seconds, up to 1 minute. Then repeat on the other side.
  6. Happy Baby: Yes, the end is near! This relaxing posture is a great way to finish. Lie down on your back. Lift your legs so that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling. Wrap your hands around your feet. There are two variations. Variation one: hands hold the insides of the feet. Variation two: hands hold the outsides of the feet. Feel what feels comfortable for you. Stay here for at least 30 seconds, up to 1 minute.

    Watch the video below for visual instructions on how to do the above postures:

For more of our at-home workout videos and yoga for cyclists ideas, visit our YouTube channel.

READ MORE ON: Cycling Cycling Tips Fitness Workouts Yoga Yoga Workouts