Probably the most common gripe among cyclists is knee pain. However, knees are rarely the culprit. They are the victims. Knee pain almost always starts with imbalance elsewhere in the body that causes the knees to track incorrectly and cause pain. Addressing, or better yet, preventing those imbalances can help you avoid many stressful weeks off the bike in the middle of your season when your knee is in too much pain to ride.
These two exercises were introduced to me by Dr. Andy Pruitt. They are key for cyclists to do year-round, however, in the late Autumn months, I personally like to have my athletes put extra focus on addressing any imbalances that developed during the race season. So, these workouts are an absolute must at this time of year.
Workout of the Week: Knee Stability Exercises for Cyclists
These can be performed as part of a regular weight routine, on their own when you get up in the morning, or as a five-minute break from work.
One of the most common causes of knee pain in cyclists is a gluteus medius that has become weak or stopped firing. This exercise keeps it strong and active. Try out this move without any resistance to see how it feels. If it’s too easy, place a resistance band above your knees to really get those glute medes firing.
- Lie on your side with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
- Keep your lower leg on the floor and your ankles together.
- Pivot your leg upward and away from your body. Keep the knee bent at the same angle throughout the movement and maintain connection with the feet.
- Return to start.
- Perform one minute on each side, slow and controlled.
Seated Vastus Stabilizer
The vastus medialis is the teardrop-shaped muscle on the inside of your quad. It can become weak or stop firing, causing issues in cyclists. And it can be a tough one to target.
- Sit in a chair with your knees at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
- Without moving, push your right foot into the ground for five seconds, activating the vastus medialus.
- Repeat with the left foot.
- Do five repetitions for each leg.