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Injury Prevention

Ask a Trainer: How Can I Avoid Cycling Injuries?

Much like changing your car’s oil allows it to perform better and last longer, these five injury prevention techniques can help reduce your risk of overuse and keep you riding smoothly.

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Cycling is an extremely repetitive sport that involves long duration and high-intensity training—which can ultimately lead to injury. Much like changing your car’s oil allows it to perform better and last longer, these five injury prevention techniques can help you perform at a higher level and reduce your risk of overuse.

1. Pre-workout: Perform dynamic stretches for 5–10 minutes, such as leg crossovers and scorpions to open up the hips and spine. They will help reduce joint and muscle stiffness prior to hopping on the bike.

RELATED: What Happens When You Stretch? And What Happens When You Don’t?

2. During the workout: Keep your cadence at 90 rpm or greater to reduce stress on the knee, specifically the patellofemoral joint (kneecap area). High-intensity training at lower rpm may have rewards but also comes with greater injury risk.

RELATED: The Search For the Ideal Cycling Cadence

3. Post-workout: Use the foam roller to reduce muscle soreness and tightness. Focus on the iliotibial band, quadriceps and piriformis (a deep gluteal muscle).

RELATED: Ask a Trainer: How Can I Best Use a Foam Roller?

4. Gear: Assuming that a professional bike fit has been done, keep well-documented measurements of saddle height and fore/aft position. Always check measurements when traveling with the bike and after a bike crash.

RELATED: Fitter & Faster Podcast: Cracking the Bike Fit Code

5. Shoes: Tighten cleat screws/bolts, as they sometimes loosen and cause the cleat to shift. Once you have the cleat in the ideal position, make sure you outline the cleat in permanent marker. Overuse injuries can be created if the cleat shifts too far forward or back, increasing stress on the knee.

Nathan Koch, PT, ATC founded Endurance Rehab in 2003 with the goal of providing the most complete and comprehensive physical therapy and performance training available to endurance athletes. Endurance Rehab has been nationally and locally recognized for its injury recovery and prevention techniques.