Strength and conditioning
Strengthening exercises, traditionally done in the gym, can improve muscular fitness and strength that can be put to good use on the bike at a later date.
For some time, weight training was avoided by cyclists for fear of muscle gain or incorrect technique, but increasingly riders are becoming aware of the benefits of improved strength on the road.
Whole body ‘compound’ exercises such as squats, deadlifts and lunges should be favoured over machine exercises to avoid unnecessary weight gain as you get stronger. Injury prevention, improved power and a leaner body are some of the potential benefits.
Strength and conditioning exercises are a good option if you have good posture, experience with free weights or can get guidance from someone you trust.
Pilates or Yoga can improve your core stability, flexibility and movement control.
In general, Pilates offers more controlled isolated movements focused on the lower back and abdomen, where yoga may demand dynamic whole body movements and positions.
Having said that, there is huge variation in styles and types of each form of exercise so it is worth trying different groups or instructors until you find something that feels like a match for you.
Pilates is an established and recognised form of exercise for improving back health, and often physiotherapists and osteopaths will recommend Pilates at the end of treatment for on-going rehabilitation.
Pilates and/or Yoga may be good options for you if have a weak back, or if you want to improve your posture, core control, or flexibility. Also they can be useful forms of exercise for relaxation.