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Knee pain can be a bother for many athletes who put heavy strain on their legs, and this is no exception for cyclists. Cycling is a repetitive movement that causes muscles and tendons in the legs to overwork. Stretching can help the sore muscles after a bike outing, but the best way to avoid soreness is to prevent over-working the knees by strengthening them, and these exercises are some of the best for cyclists to bulk up their knee strength.

1. The Clamshell
This exercise requires a band to be wrapped around the legs just above the knee. Using this band, lay on your side with knees slightly bent, and separate your legs from one another in a “clamshell” motion. Not only will this strengthen your knees, it will also strengthen the hips and thighs.

2. Donkey Kick
With many variations, this exercise is a staple in cyclist’s workouts. Moving onto all fours (similar to a donkey), kick your leg back towards the ceiling. This will not only strengthen the knees, but it will also stretch and bring power to the glutes. By working the glutes, knee strain is lessoned significantly, as the gluteus medius is responsible for most knee pain. However, be aware, arching the back too much could result in injury unrelated to the knees.

3. Resistance Band Lateral Walk
Bring the band back out from the Clamshell exercise, and place it just above the ankles. Perform a half squat, just enough to feel the muscle stretch in the thighs, and begin walking in sideways motions with short steps to stretch the band. The resistance of the band strengthens the leg and knee muscles. This can also be done with the band around the thighs.

4. Reverse Lunge on Bosu Ball
Another one for the glutes, this exercise will require a Bosu Ball, or similar exercise equipment. Starting on top of the Bosu, step off the side backwards, stretching the leg as far as it will go. Once done, return to the starting position on top of the Bosu. Repeat the process 15-20 times per leg for best results. This exercise will ensure strong knees and thighs, making pedaling less taxing on the legs when cycling.

For more cycling information and more knee strengthening exercises, visit this page.