Yoga: Transitioning from the Indoor Trainer to the Road

Yoga: Transitioning from the Indoor Trainer to the Road


My question is how to maximize yoga techniques to transition from indoor training to the road. After a winter indoors on the trainer, I find it takes some time to readjust to road riding - especially hills. I noticed that my lower back is tired and a bit sore after a few hours on the road bike. I take yoga classes 2 times each week, at an intermediate level. Yoga has helped me with form and flexibility as well as balance. Can you suggest poses  or techniques to include in my practice that could help with the transition from indoor to outdoor cycling?



As the body transitions back to on the road efficiency and adjusts to environmental forces such as wind and  terrain, it is important to keep two key areas of the body opened, flexible and balanced;  the hamstrings and the psoas (long, stabilizing flexor at front hip) – both of which are primary causes for low back crankiness and decreased pedal efficiency and power. 

Here are some must do yoga movements to target these critical areas.



It is important to do DYNAMIC stretching pre-training to move the muscles and build some heat and blood flow. Do this sequence – targeting the psoas and hips -  up to three times each side prior to your ride. And, make sure you follow the breath instructions for optimal results.

  BREATHING DEEPLY, stand tall and confident in mountain pose, INHALE…
  EXHALE, lift L leg up, hands stay at side…
  INHALE, step L foot back and raise arms overhead, R knee directly over R ankle…
  EXHALE, pivot from hips to arrow pose, straight arms stay in line with ears…
  INHALE, draw hands to prayer at heart center, plugging thumbs gently into sternum…
  EXHALE, twist to R, L elbow ‘catches’ R knee, L leg strong, R knee over R ankle…
  INHALE, un-twist, bring weight into R foot, lift L and balance; arms straight...
  EXHALE, drop L foot right next to R, pause in chair pose, arms reaching high…
  INHALE, press into feet to stand, arms at side for mountain pose. Switch sides.


Great release (and strengthening) for low back, glute and outer hip. You can do this in shoes and even at the top tube of your bike mid-ride.

  Standing tall, tailbone dropping, hands at hips, cross R ankle over bent L knee…
  Reach hands forward keeping back flat, shoulders back and down…

Pivot from hips and reach forward, hands stay shoulder height…

  Drop arms to legs (R hand inside R knee, L hand on R foot, back flat. switch sides.


After riding/training, static stretches where we hold poses for at least one minute will help lengthen tight hamstrings and counterbalance hours in the saddle for injury prevention, balance and recovery. Three great ways to release the psoas, hip flexors and back.



A light backbend that strengthens/releases back, legs and hips, massages spine, and opens chest.

  • Back flat on ground, knees bent. Elbows bent alongside ribs, fingers point to ceiling.
  • Bring R ankle onto L knee and flex R foot. Push L foot and elbows hard into mat to lift hips off floor.
  • Do not tuck chin, keep throat open.
  • Continue to drop R knee toward floor but don’t let R hip drop – keep both hip points level.
  • Breathe deep and steady. Hold for minimum of one minute; switch sides.



Opens and releases outer hip and hamstrings while neutralizing the spine.

  • Back flat on ground, knees bent. Bring R ankle onto L knee and flex R foot. Lift bent L leg and bring R knee toward chest.
  • Put R hand on inside of R knee and L hand on R foot. Gently push R knee away from body.
  • As you exhale, continue to draw L knee closer to chest keeping low back on floor.
  • Relax shoulders and back. Hold for minimum of one minute; switch sides.

 Stretches all hamstrings while releasing accumulated tension in low back.

  • Using a strap or belt, lie on back, legs extended. Place strap around ball of R foot.
  • Slowly lengthen R leg so strap slides through hand until leg is fully straightened. Elbows fully extend.
  • Relax upper neck and shoulders. Press ball of R foot into strap while pulling strap into ball of foot.
  • Keep back of L  thigh pressing into ground, L foot flexed.
  • Hold 1 to 2 minutes each side breathing deeply, steadily. 


We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.
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