Massively Tight Hip Flexors When I Started On the Trainer

This November I started a build plan. All riding prior to that was outside. Even after just the 1st week inside I noticed tension in my hip flexors. Nothing bad just sort of a “that’s interesting” sort of feeling. I just completed my 5th week and the hip flexors are feeling uncharacteristically sore.

If I understand correctly “tight or sore” hip flexors are more due to an imbalance with the glute complex or glutes not being recruited therefore the hip flexors are forced to overcompensate.

That’s all fine, but I’m wondering why this presented itself when I started training on a trainer? Bike and fit is identical and has not changed this year from last. Any ideas or insight appreciated.

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Also suffer from tight flexors. I have to really stretch as well as keep a focus on my pedalling to stop myself from trying to pedal with my HF (bad habit). Also worked for me is changing the position of the actual bike (vs position on the bike). Is it true/level to outdoor riding? Try raising the front end by 1-2%.


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The trainer is level now. Just so I understand, raising the front end beyond level helped?

I don’t suffer from this problem but I know I tend to slightly ride my bike differently between indoors and outdoors. I use my tri bike for both, and I concentrate and work on position constantly, but esp when it comes to my races, I sit way more forward on the saddle (literally on the very tip). However it doesn’t injure me or cause any issue, my power and comfort is still the same, I just tend to more my body forward more, probs due to my heavy breathing coming out of the swim. Riding indoors and following plans you tend to pedal more and hardly coast, plus you’re concentrating more on mechanics and body position, everything is slightly different.

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Yes it helped. As per @mcneese.chad, raising the front end a little bit does help to replicate a more realistic outdoor position. I don’t know if this is backed by science, perhaps a question for @chad on the podcast?


I have always had tight HF and Ido Coach Jay johnson’s SAM workouts before every ride. They seem to help.


Thank you! Bookmarked…I do some of those already but will def incorporate the variations!

I’d never noticed any issue with my HFs until I started getting a sore lower ‘5’ back (a local cross race triggered it). It was a friend of mine that runs a gym who diagnosed it…took one look at me and told me he could SEE how tight they were…my posture was way off. I just wasn’t feeling it in the HFs but the back did. I sit at a desk all day and am more susceptible…but my legs are strong (years of leg lunges playing badminton)

He gave me some stretching exercises to do , starting easy, and within 2 weeks I’m good again. It’s helped my biking quite a bit…I feel fluid/faster. But it’s something to constantly maintain, and a good core matches it/is key. I stretch them for about 15mins and do about 15 mins of ‘yoga for cyclists’ after every ride. Off days are core work. My RMT also helps free them up too now that he knows what to target.

I hope you get to the bottom of it.

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Great SAM workouts and fantastic demonstration!

Definitely worth incorporating hip activations, good mornings, etc before jumping on the bike.


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I put together Coach Chads 5 + SAM. I was shocked how pitiful my single leg squats were! I had a hard time doing 5X to a seat of a chair for crying out loud. Pretty weak! So, while maybe not “the” issue I think they are a contributor.

Amazing what I’m learning from starting TR. I really thought I had things dialed. Nope.:grinning:

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I injured my flexor and have been on a steady diet of high rep squats and split squats each week for around 1 month now and I am feeling much better now during high levels of stress. I think it was brought on by improper warm ups and larger levels of TSS and intensity than i’m used to. My position had not changed in many years.

These exercises were all prescribed after consulting a physiotherapists who works closely with cyclists

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I do a lot of those via yoga; guess they’re universal.

A few yoga poses that work very well for my HF (+glutes+hips in general):

Pigeon Pose

Lizard Pose

Low Lunge With Sidebend

(This is the person who does the yoga segment for SF so it’s cyclist certified :wink: )

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Any improvement?

Yes, but, I get tight post SST to VO2 work. I’m thinking that my glutes are a little weak compared to hip flexors.

I have been focusing on the 5 exercises coach Chad recommended + additional bridges and some banded squats (core in general) and a stretching routine which is again what coach Chad recommends + piriformis+hamstring+calf.

I have a theory on that. Start with the proposition that almost all pure cyclists are teetering on the edge of some major muscular imbalances give the fairly one dimensional nature of cycling. But, those of us who do nothing to address this can often stave off this showing up as an issue in the summer as we just naturally engage in more diverse activities in the warmer months. Even mundane summer chores like mowing the lawn introduce variety into our movements. Plus, outdoor riding is more dynamic than indoor riding so you inevitably get just a bit more of a “whole body” workout on a summer outdoor ride than on the trainer…

But, by the time serious “trainer season” rolls around, our other activities have waned. We are a couple months away from any serious, dynamic outdoor riding. We are thus slightly more imbalanced. Then we start punishing our self on the trainer, holding a static position longer, maybe even standing more, and longer, and for some that is just enough for the chickens come home to roost.

Agreed. I wrote above that I think my glutes are out of balance with the hip flexors (generally). IMO What illuminated the problem was the: 1. Starting trainer riding (previously 100% outside) so a muscular endurance shift so-to-speak or strain on the muscles. 2. The fact that I am spending more time in threshold, VO2max and anaerobic zones than before. 3. I slacked on core since the summer… 4. I’m old. :grinning:

Has @mcneese.chad written something on this? I can see the sense, but had a root around here and cannot find anything written down…

Just tried raising the front wheel little from the horizontal to see if this helps with hip flexors feeling like they’re doing too much work. Only done a single workout since raising it, but initial impression is that it feels better, like I’m making greater use of glutes and quads, and afterwards I feel more like I’ve been on a regular bike ride.

The following is captured in my Rocker Plate thread:

When you have a bike that is perfectly comfortable outside, and then leads to problems when ridden inside, I feel it is important to look at what is different. When you do, there are two key differences.

  1. Lack of wind resistance on the body riding inside. That is a difference that I find because you end up with slightly more weight on the hands and arms, because you don’t have the wind pushing your upper body back.
    • To compensate for that, I recommend that people raise the front axle about 1"-2" [25mm-50mm] higher than the rear axle. This shifts the weight slightly back onto the saddle and off the hands and arms.

THAT makes too much sense! Going to try for myself too. Thanks @mcneese.chad.

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Nice one Chad. :+1:

I’d raised the front by ~25-30mm, so at the low end of your range, but it seems to have had a positive effect. I may try a touch more…

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