While the hunched-over position you’re in on the bike helps you ride more efficiently (you’re more aerodynamic and powerful in the saddle), it does come with some downsides. Rounding your back and shoulders over long periods of time can put stress on your spine and weaken your core, chest, and back. Not to mention, we already spend hours a day hunched over our phones and laptops, so adding rides in on top of that doesn’t help.
But the bright side is that there are some easy exercises you can do to build up your core and back muscles to prevent poor posture from occurring in the first place. Noam Tamir, certified strength and conditioning specialist and founder of in New York City, created this six-move circuit to do just that.
How to do it: Tamir recommends breaking up the six exercises into two separate circuits. Do three rounds of each circuit. (The amount of time to do each exercise varies, see below.)
- Glute Bridge
- Bird Dog
- Half-Kneeling Anti-Rotation Isometric Hold
- Forearm Plank
- Farmer’s Carry
How to do it: Start kneeling on all fours. Place forearms on the ground, palms facing down, so that your elbows are directly under shoulders. Engage your core, then step both feet back to a plank position. Your hips should be in line with shoulders so body forms a straight line from heels to head. Hold for 30 seconds.
Why it works: “It’s an anti-extension exercise, so it helps to keep your core strong and works on stabilizing the lower back,” Tamir says.
How to do it: Start on all fours, knees under hips and shoulders over wrists. Keeping back flat and hips stable, extend left arm and right leg straight out. Draw left elbow and right knee toward each other, hovering just above the floor. Repeat on the other side (right arm and left leg), alternating 20 times total (10 per side).
Why it works: This anti-rotation exercise focuses on unilateral work. “Our bodies are naturally imbalanced, so working with alternate sides of the body helps,” Tamir says.
How to do it: Lie faceup with your arms extended toward the ceiling. With knees bent at 90 degrees, keep your shoulders down and feet flexed. Engage your core and extend your left arm and right leg away from you. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side (right arm and left leg), alternating 20 times total (10 per side).
Why it works: “This is a great exercise for keeping your transverse abdominals strong—the stronger your deep core muscles, the stronger your performance,” Tamir says.
How to do it: Lie faceup, knees bent, and feet planted on the floor. Drive through heels, contracting the glutes to send hips toward the ceiling. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower back down and repeat 15 times.
Why it works: This move focuses on keeping the pelvis in a neutral position and strengthening the glutes, which helps posture, Tamir says.
Half-Kneeling Anti-Rotation Isometric Hold
How to do it: Start in a 90-90 position with your left knee in front and right (back) knee on the ground to the right of cables or anchored resistance band. Rotate to the right, grab band with both hands, rotate to the left to pull it to the middle of your chest. Extend both arms straight out in front of you, hold for 30 seconds, then bring them back to your chest. Repeat by starting on the left side of cables or band.
Why it works: “This is another unilateral exercise,” Tamir says. “The resistance of rotation makes you stabilize with your obliques, glutes, and shoulders.”
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell (or dumbbells)in each hand at side. Keeping back straight, chest high, and shoulders down, walk forward without allowing weight to cause an imbalance in your posture. Turn around walk back with balanced posture. Walk for a total of 45 seconds.
Why it works: “This exercise is an anti-lateral flexion of the torso, and when done properly, it requires you to keep a nice upright posture,” Tamir says. “It forces you to keep your whole body engaged.”