Strengthen and Relieve Tension: The Best Yoga Poses for Cyclists

Two yoga and cycling experts share the best poses to complement your training
flickr/Augusto Mia Battaglia

Cycling can be an intensive workout that puts pressure on important muscles of your body. Knowing how to relieve tension, strengthen specific areas and increase flexibility are important elements to training. A great way to complement the rigorous training that comes along with cycling is yoga.

There are many specific yoga poses that can improve and complement your cycling workouts. So, to find out what postures the professionals practice we chatted with Jimmy Minardi, Founder of Minardi Training and former pro-cyclist, personal trainer, yoga teacher and creator of “Minardi Surfer Yoga” and Dempsey Marks, fitness trainer, yoga instructor and Founder of who competes in triathlons, marathons and more.

Both experts use yoga in their everyday lives to strengthen and relieve tension for their muscles most used in cycling. “Incorporating yoga into your workout routine is a great way to improve your core, giving you overall body strength in very specific cycling muscle groups,” explains Minardi. “It also increases flexibility, stability and mobility, allowing for greater range of motion on a bike; but most importantly, it will keep you out of the injury bin.”

Whether you practice yoga frequently, or are just a beginner, these ten yoga poses for cyclists are great complements to your two-wheeled training.

Bridge Pose

How to do it:

Begin lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor.  Extend your arms along the floor, palms facing down.

Press your feet and palms into the floor.  

Inhale and lift your hips off the floor.

Roll your shoulders underneath you and interlace your fingers.

Keep your gaze upward and avoid moving your neck.

Press your heels down.

Engage your core.

Keep your thighs and feet parallel.

Hold for 6-8 breaths.

Why do it:

Bridge pose opens up your chest and shoulders—which often become tight from upper body positioning on the bike.  It helps relieve tension in your back and upper neck.  It also stretches your hip flexors (notoriously tight for cyclists) and increases flexibility of the spine.
–Dempsey Marks

Cobra Pose

How to do it:

Begin lying on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders.

Bring your legs together and press the tops of your feet into the ground.

Inhale and lift your chest up.

Gaze straight ahead to keep your neck long.

Pull your shoulders away from your ears.

Keep your elbows close into your ribcage. (Tip: There should be little to no weight in your hands. You should be using your back muscles to pull yourself up.)

Hold for 6-8 breaths.

Why do it:

Cobra pose is great for strengthening your back muscles.  Since it is a backbend, it aids in opening your chest, shoulders, and abdomen which all tend to tighten up during cycling.
–Dempsey Marks

Click here to see more yoga poses for cyclists.

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