8 reasons why ballet is the perfect cross-training for cyclists:
- Ballet strengthens the core without having to do those boring crunches.
- It stretches the hip flexors, which tend to get tight in the forward-leaning position.
- It improves posture, correcting that rounded lumbar spine that cyclists often develop.
- It strengthens the hip rotators, giving you better control over your knee position. This can help to prevent splayed knees.
- It strengthens the VMO (vastus medialis oblique), one of the primary quad muscles needed for smooth pedaling. A weak VMO leads to poor knee tracking in the joint, which in turn can lead to chronic degeneration of the knee. Ballet, with its frequent use of relevé, and bending and straightening the legs in a limited range of motion at fast speeds with varying loads is possibly the most efficient way to strengthen the VMO.
- Ballet dancers spend most of their time on one leg or the other, which greatly strengthens the gluteus medius. These muscles help to keep the hips and pelvis stable on a bike, and sustain power and force while riding.
- Ballet both stretches and strengthens the QL (quadratus lumborum), the muscle in your back that assists with side flexion, extension and hip elevation. Cyclists often develop tight QL’s under the stress of big gears and low aerodynamic positions.
- You don’t have to buy a different outfit!