Pilates for Cycling

 by Christina Eng, MScPT, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor

With warmer weather upon us, many people are spending more time outdoors and getting onto their bikes. If cycling is your jam, you’ve spent a lot of time on your bike and rode hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometers. Most cyclists I see in the clinic have highly developed legs, but what do they do when they’re not on their bikes? Pilates is a great way to help cyclists properly engage and activate the core, back and hips to maintain strong form on the bike and prevent injury.

What is pilates?

Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility, muscular strength and endurance movements. Pilates emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. Additional benefits include improved flexibility, posture and balance.

What does a strong core do for cyclists?

A strong core can help transfer more power to the pedals by providing a solid platform for the lower body to push against. Pilates exercises develop strength and endurance in the deeper muscles of the core, back, arms and legs, promoting more balanced and efficient use.  Improved core strength helps support the lower back, which is the first area that fatigues during a long ride.

Whether you enjoy road, mountain or leisurely cycling, all cyclists can benefit from pilates to help stretch out and rebalance muscle activity after a ride, and to strengthen up key areas of your body to reduce aches and pains, and enhance performance. Book in with one of our clinical pilates instructors for an assessment and individualized exercise plan.

3 exercises for a better ride:

Bridge with band

Tie a resistance band around both thighs, just above your knees. Lie on your back with your knees bent and legs hips width apart. There should be tension in the band. Raise your hips up into a bridge, keeping the knees hips width apart. Control the movement back down to the start position, maintaining constant tension on the band.

Side-lie leg circles

Lie on your side with your bottom knee bent and your top leg straight. Tighten your pelvic floor and lower stomach muscles. Lift your top leg up into the air until it is inline with your upper body. Slowly rotate the top leg round in a clockwise direction in small circles and then anticlockwise.


Start in a kneeling position with your hands under your shoulders, and knees under your hips.
Your back should be flat and your gaze between your hands.
Tighten your pelvic floor and core stability muscles, slightly tensing your abdominal muscles.
Holding this position, raise one arm and the opposite leg, straightening them away from one another. Ensure your back remains flat.

Holding this position, then simultaneously draw a square with your hand and foot. Move your limbs out, down, in and up.