Look after your back

Strengthening your back really can help your cycling…and prevent injury when you do go down. Use these exercises to stay strong and injury free:

1. Reverse flye
This works the posterior deltoid and your upper back muscles, which are lengthened and weakened by cycling. Holding a relatively light dumbbell in each hand, keep your back straight, soften your knees and bend forward at the hips until your chest faces the floor. Keep arms straight and extend out to the sides, until parallel with the floor. Slowly lower to position and repeat for 10.

2. Bent-over row
This targets your rhomboids and traps, and protects your upper back. Holding a barbell level with your knees in an overhand grip at shoulder width, keep your back straight and bend at the waist to about 45°. With abs drawn in, pull the bar towards your sternum, squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top, and slowly lower until arms are fully extended. Allow no torso movement.

3. Prone cobra
Great for lumbar spinal stability and a healthy lower back, while also retracting over-extended shoulders. Lie face down with arms by your sides and legs outstretched. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, while at the same time raising your arms and legs towards the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds at the top and slowly return. Do 10 with controlled speed and your glutes engaged.