How To Stop Lactic Acid When Cycling (Easy Tips)

Lactic acid is a natural byproduct of energy metabolism in the body. It builds up during exercise and can cause sore muscles and fatigue. 

However, there are several ways to reduce the amount of lactic acid that builds up while exercising by changing your position or breathing pattern.

How To Stop Lactic Acid When Cycling? 4 Methods
Tips to reduce lactic acid when cycling
Proper nutrition can help reduce lactic acid
Gradually increasing intensity can help your body adapt
Recovery is key to reducing lactic acid build-up
Use proper form to prevent excessive strain on muscles

Change Your Position

One way to avoid lactic acid build-up is to change your position on the bike. That sounds pretty simple and it is, but there are a few things you need to consider first.

Ride in an upright position: This will move your body forward and allow you to generate more power with each pedal stroke You can do this by sitting further back on the saddle (spacing out the seat post against the rear axle), using a shorter stem, or switching out your bar for one that puts you in more of an upright position.

Change where you hold on: Some riders like to grip their bars as low as possible while others prefer them at shoulder level for maximum leverage when climbing hills or sprinting through traffic. The best advice here would be to experiment with different hand positions until one works best for YOU!

Poor form while cycling can cause unnecessary strain on your body and contribute to muscular imbalances, especially in your glutes. If you want to know how to activate your glutes while cycling, head over to our guide on activating glutes while cycling.

Train Low Intensity With High Cadence

Training low intensity with high cadence is a great way to train your body to work efficiently and avoid lactic acid buildup. You can do this by using a metronome, power meter or trainer with built-in metronome. 

For example, if you’re riding an indoor trainer and want to focus on increasing your cadence without losing speed or power output, set the metronome at 90 bpm (the number of strokes per minute) and make sure that each stroke includes one full pedal revolution (not half). 

This will force you to increase both cadence and efficiency as you ride because it takes longer for each stroke when done correctly.

Take A Break

Taking a break is an important part of preventing lactic acid build-up and improving your performance. If you have time, it’s best to take a break after each set or after every 3-4 songs. You can also use the following strategies for taking breaks:

  • Stretching
  • Drinking water
  • Changing your breathing pattern

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist, there’s always room to improve your performance. Our guide on getting better at cycling offers tips to help you increase your endurance, speed, and overall performance.

Change Your Breathing Rhythm

To counter lactic acid accumulation and its effects, you have to breathe more efficiently. The best way to do this is by changing your breathing rhythm and timing.

Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. This may sound obvious, but many cyclists forget about it and breathe too much with their mouths open, which causes them to feel dizzy when they reach high speeds or try to sprint on a flat road. 

Breathing through the nose also helps keep air temperature regulated within the sinuses because they are closer to other parts of the body than the mouth cavity is – especially during hot weather!

Get into a rhythm where you take three seconds per breath: inhale, hold for 1 second while holding your breath all together between inhalation/exhalation phases (called diaphragmatic breathing)

Then exhale slowly over 2 seconds while still holding it all together at first before releasing some air at second two or three of exhalation phase if necessary due to increased lung capacity needs when exerting yourself physically or mentally (called pursed-lip technique). 

Do this throughout hard efforts so that any discomfort caused by lactic acid buildup in legs can be minimized as much as possible without sacrificing power output from arms & core muscles needed for efficient pedaling action.

Drink More Water

  • Drink water before, during and after exercise.
  • Drink water before and after exercise to replace fluids lost through sweating.
  • Drink water during exercise to maintain hydration.

If you’re a cyclist, chances are your lactic acid levels are high! You should be drinking lots of fluids to stay hydrated and flush out the acids from your muscles. 

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need about 1 ounce of water for every pound (450 milliliters) of body weight each day.

To prevent lactic acid build up when cycling: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids both before and after exercising. 
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking enough liquids throughout the day so that your urine is clear or pale yellow. 
  • Drink saltwater (sodium chloride solution) before or during exercise if needed; however, do not drink too much as it may cause bloating. 
  • Stretch regularly before starting an activity such as jogging or cycling so you don’t overstrain yourself at first.

Sore legs are a common complaint among cyclists, and they can leave you feeling exhausted and uncomfortable. If you want to know how to relieve leg pain after cycling, check out our guide on soothing your legs after cycling.

Keep Your Form

  • Keep your back straight.
  • Keep your hips and shoulders level.
  • Keep your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Keep your wrists straight and relaxed, with fingers relaxed as well (don’t clench).
  • Knees slightly bent, but not locked out or too far forward (this can cause injury).

Practice Better Transitions

If you’re struggling with lactic acid, one of the best ways to combat it is to practice your transitions.

Practice on a flat road: If you have an opportunity in training, try practicing your transitions both on flat roads and while climbing hills. This will help you get used to the sensation of riding with lower gears at high speeds, which can dramatically reduce the amount of lactate buildup in your muscles.

Practice with a group: When cycling with friends or teammates, ask them if they mind if you take turns pulling each other through sections of the ride where there’s no break in traffic or opportunities for drafting behind buses or trucks. This will also help build up your core strength (and possibly give them some much-needed rest).

Practice in rain: If possible, practice making quick gear changes while riding through heavy rain you may be surprised by how much easier this makes it for you than doing so when it’s sunny out!

If you’re looking to ramp up your cycling performance, working on your speed is a great place to start. Our guide on getting faster at cycling offers tips on how to improve your speed and set new personal records.

Eat Strategically

One of the easiest ways to stop lactic acid is by making sure you’re eating strategically.

Eat carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, and they break down into glucose when digested. The body can use this glucose in two ways: it can be stored as glycogen (the form of glucose found in your muscles) or it can be used immediately for energy. Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates like breads and pasta will keep blood sugar levels stable so you stay energized during a long ride.

Eat foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber. Many athletes think they need more fiber while exercising because they don’t want to feel bloated from eating too much gas-causing food, but this isn’t true! 

The key is finding foods with lots of simple sugars like table sugar or honey and very few fibers that will quickly digest into glucose for immediate energy production without causing bloating or stomach discomfort later on during exercise.

Drink more water! Hydration is important for all athletes at all times, but especially during long rides where sweat loss may cause dehydration.

Warm Up The Right Way

The most important thing is to warm up the right way before you start your workout. Warming up helps to prepare your body for exercise, increase blood flow and improve tissue elasticity. 

The specific warm-up routine will depend on the type of exercise or sport you’re doing but there are some general principles that apply across all sports:

Start slow and easy: A common mistake is to get excited about a new workout and then go 100% from the start. This can lead to injury or overuse injuries because your body hasn’t had time to adapt. This means not pushing too hard too early in the session, especially if it’s a big session such as an hour long ride (or even longer).

Do dynamic stretches: Dynamic stretching involves moving through a range of motion while keeping your muscles relaxed so they aren’t working against resistance just yet which makes them more likely to suffer an injury during this period when they are fresh out of bed or after sitting for long periods at work etc.. 

For example if we were doing cycling then we might do some leg swings before riding so that our quads wouldn’t tighten up due to being cold from sitting around waiting for our training partner!

If you’re looking for an effective way to lose belly fat, indoor cycling may be a great option for you. Our guide on losing belly fat with indoor cycling offers tips and advice on how to use indoor cycling to meet your fitness goals.

Stretch And Cool Down Properly

Stretching and cooling down are two things that you should be doing after a workout. They help your muscles recover and prepare for the next session. 

In order to avoid lactic acid build-up, it’s important to stretch after every session and cool down before each one too.

Stretching: You can do this by holding stretches for 10-30 seconds, or until you feel comfortable enough to hold them longer. 

You can also add in some active movements like lunges or squats while you’re stretching out your legs this will help relieve tension in other parts of your body while improving circulation and loosening up those tight hamstrings! 

If these exercises don’t quite feel like enough for you but stretching is still too much on its own, try adding some light cardio (like walking) into the mix once per week as well

This will increase blood flow throughout all major muscle groups throughout the day which means more oxygen being delivered back homeostasis within each cell making them less likely due to fatigue during exercise.

Cooling Down: Just as important as stretching before workouts is cooling down afterwards; just because there isn’t any physical activity going on anymore doesn’t mean that our bodies don’t need time alone after exertion! 

That said though keep it short – no more than five minutes maximum so don’t worry about getting bored while waiting around either since there will still plenty left over from what we did earlier today 🙂

Switch Up Your Workouts

A common mistake that cyclists make is overdoing it, or doing the same workout too often. The body needs time to recover in order to build muscle and become stronger. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough rest between workouts.

Another common mistake is doing the same kind of workout every day. For example, if your goal is to get faster at climbing hills on your bike, don’t just go out on your stationary bike and do hill climbs during every ride until it becomes more comfortable for you your body won’t learn anything new! 

Instead, try varying up where you do those hill climbs (elevated outdoor trails or ramps), how long they last (try short intervals), what type of resistance level feels comfortable for now (low resistance) etc., so that each ride will be slightly different from the last one.

Tips for Effective Workout Variation

Mix up your workoutsSwitch up your workout routine frequently to work different muscle groups and avoid overuse injuries.
Increase intensity slowlyGradually increase the intensity of your workouts to avoid pushing your body too hard too fast.
Focus on compound movementsCompound movements, such as squats and deadlifts, work multiple muscle groups at once, helping you build strength more efficiently.
Recovery timeGive your body ample time to recover between workouts. Taking rest days can help prevent overuse injuries and muscle fatigue.
Cross-trainingIncorporating different forms of exercise, such as swimming or yoga, can help build strength, improve flexibility, and prevent burnout.

Slow Down When Necessary

If you feel your muscles starting to burn and lactic acid building up, slow down immediately. If this is not an option, stop cycling and let your body recover before continuing on.

Another way to help prevent lactic acid build-up is keeping a high cadence (revolutions per minute). 

This can be done by keeping both feet on the pedals as opposed to just one like many cyclists do when they are coasting or cruising along at slower speeds. 

Keeping both feet on the pedals allows for greater range of motion in the hips, which allows for more power from each stroke of the pedal.

Tips for Slowing Down and Recovering During Cycling

Slow your paceIf you feel your muscles burning or lactic acid building up, slow down your pace to let your body recover.
Take a breakIf slowing down is not enough, stop cycling and take a break to allow your body to recover.
StretchStretching can help relieve tension in your muscles and reduce lactic acid build-up.
HydrateDrinking water during your ride can help your muscles work more efficiently and can prevent lactic acid build-up.
Proper nutritionEating a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates and protein can help prevent muscle fatigue and reduce lactic acid build-up.


We hope this article has helped you develop a better understanding of how to reduce lactic acid buildup during cycling. 

Remember, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. But with some trial and error, we’re confident you’ll discover what works best for your body!

Further Reading

How to Get Rid of Lactic Acid: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment – A comprehensive guide to lactic acid and how to get rid of it, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Stop Lactic Acid Build Up In Your Legs While Cycling – Tips and advice on how to prevent lactic acid build-up in your legs while cycling.

How to beat the burn while cycling – A guide to help you train your body to handle lactic acid build-up while cycling.


What is lactic acid?

Lactic acid is a substance that builds up in the muscles during intense physical activity.

What causes lactic acid build-up?

Lactic acid build-up is caused by the body’s inability to supply enough oxygen to the muscles during intense physical activity.

What are the symptoms of lactic acid build-up?

Symptoms of lactic acid build-up can include muscle pain, fatigue, and cramping.

How can I reduce lactic acid build-up while cycling?

You can reduce lactic acid build-up while cycling by using proper form, staying hydrated, and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts.

What are some ways to recover from lactic acid build-up?

Ways to recover from lactic acid build-up include massage, stretching, foam rolling, and taking rest days to allow the muscles to recover.