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foam rolling for cycling

Essential foam roller routine in less than 10min!

This routine is essential and should be done if possible every day although a minimum of after every ride. Again ideally it’s best to do after you have had your shower and recovery meal although it can be done in the evening while your watching the television just make sure your muscles are not cold.


The iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick strap of soft tissue that extends down the outside of your leg. It is pretty much impossible to work on using traditional stretching but if this becomes overly tight then it can be at the root of a number of painful knee problems.

The best method for keeping your ITB functioning optimally is to use a foam roller. If you’re finding that your ITB gets tight constantly it may be due to a problem with your bike setup such as saddle too high or poor cleat alignment. If the problem persists then it may be worth seeking professional advice and find the underlying cause or invest in a bike fit

– Lie on the foam roller in a side plank position with your full body weight on it, upper body supported on your elbow and feet stacked on top of each other.

– Roll up and down the full length of the outside of your thigh, making sure not to go onto the bones of your hip or knee.

– Don’t work around sore spots by rotating backwards or forwards instead take extra time by going slowly


This is the large muscle group at the front of your thighs consists of four muscles, the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and sartorius. The rectus femoris especially is responsible for driving your pedals around but, if allowed to become too tight, can have an adverse effect on both posture and biomechanics, resulting in lower back pain and potentially hip and knee problems.

– Lie face down in a front plank position with one thigh on the roller.

– Bend the knee of the leg being rolled and hook it behind the ankle of the other leg to hold it in position.

– Roll up and down the full length of your thigh from the top of your hips to just above your knee, again making sure not to roll over your knee

Thoracic Spine

When we are sat at a desk, driving or even on a bike, we’re locked in a flexed forward position, which focuses on the thoracic spine, and  is a postural correction for this imbalance.

– Lie on the roller so that it goes across the top of your shoulders blades.

– Lightly support your head with your hands.

– Roll over the down to the bottom of your ribcage and, as you do so, extend over it.


When functioning properly these muscles play a significant role in a powerful and even pedal stroke. However, for many cyclists, poorly firing glutes due to tightness means a loss of power thus placing more load on your already overworked quads.

– Using either a roller or a hardball, cross one leg over the other and, adopting a side plank position, work the hip and buttock area of the bent leg.

– If using a roller, move up and down your buttock and rotate forwards and backwards to cover the whole area or using a ball, move around all over the buttock, pausing and releasing as you come across tight or painful areas.


This muscle is the least used out of all of them while cycling but for any triathletes out there it is very important.  It is still useful to do as tight calves can cause imbalances elsewhere so is a good habit to get into.

-Place the foam roller under the calf and roll between just above the ankle and below the knee.

– Once you find that tension or sore spot, you will want to hold for 20-30 seconds.

-You can use your arms to hold up your hips to add more pressure to the area if needed.

James Walsgrove

My cycling career started in 2005 when I purchased my first road bike and I was immediately hooked. Since then I have completed numerous cycling challenges including Ironman, Lands’ End to John O Groats, Mt Ventoux (all 3 ascents), London to Paris, the BBAR challenge which included a 12hour TimeTrial and more recently the Mallorca 312.