4. Close the open chain
Besides muscle tightness, imbalances in strength between the muscles acting on a joint such as the knee can increase stress and wear on that joint, causing pain and increasing the likelihood of an overuse injury.
“The important thing is balance,” said Meininger. “You can’t neglect those hamstrings, so [do] leg curls (for the hamstrings) in addition to your leg extensions (for the quadriceps).”
Meininger recommends performing closed-chain exercises, which incorporate muscles on either side of a joint, rather than open-chain, or isolation exercises — such as leg extensions — which neglect opposing muscles.
“When you do a lunge or a squat, you’re working both the hamstrings and the quads; same thing with the leg press,” he said. “Whereas if you do a leg extension, you are only isolating the quadriceps and neglecting the hamstrings.
“So incorporating some hamstring strengthening and closed-chain exercises will help… avoid imbalance issues, particularly in the off-season for those cyclists doing their weight training program [in January].”