Exercises for unicycling?

I’m learning to ride a uni. Are there any arm/leg/anything exercises you would recommend to get in a better shape to make riding easier?

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Just riding unicycle makes you better at riding unicycle. No other objects move like unicycles. For example riding waveboard, skateboard or walking on a ball, brings the balance point down to your feet, where the unicycle has the balance point at saddle height.
Maybe swinging your arms a lot, so when you start flailing at the start, you might have lift off. You need to flap pretty fast though :smiley:
Maybe squatting to make your legs stronger, but when just learning you will feel you’re body is quite cramped because of the fear of falling. By riding more your body will get used to the sway and relax automatically. For some peeps it takes longer than for others.
So just keep at it.


As a beginner, I sometimes over-extended the muscles around my rib cage from all the arm flailing. Looking back, maybe I would have benefited from some light stretching of those muscles as a warmup. You might try that.

Any balance exercise that involves twitching may help you. Like balancing a wooden spoon on your finger tip. It won’t specifically help you with unicycling, but it will remind you of the need to flail and twitch madly when learning to uni.

I really think that 80% of unicycle fitness is due to technique, and more so if you are already reasonably fit. Watch videos of avid bicyclists learning how to unicycle and you’ll often hear them remark on how exhausting it is to ride a unicycle a short distance. It’s not a matter of fitness for them, but rather that they are riding in an extremely inefficient manner, using one leg to counteract the force being applied by the other and their back and core muscles to counteract the forces of both. Once you start to get good at unicycling you’ll notice it becomes much, much easier than can be explained by simple physical conditioning.

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More riding with stretching and short sessions.

More riding is the best exercise for learning to ride.
Stretching allows/helps the body keep up to the new demands on your muscles.
Short sessions allows/helps the mind keep up to the developing skill(s) demands on your brain.

If you want to add something, I’ve found a very inflated exercise ball a wonderful addition to my routine.
Try sitting on it with your feet lifted off of the floor to begin with then evolve to kneeling, planking, standing, etc…

Rock climbing is another thing that helps keep you very connected to your body.
It unlocks amazing abilities that are possible with your body.

Last one would be to do any of these with your eyes closed.

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Any strength will help unicycling (well, I guess arm strength isn’t the biggest factor, but legs and core is certainly important). That’s just a reality of most sports, the fitter you are, the easier you will learn.

Would you accelerate your learning process by adding in strength training? I highly doubt that, the strength needed for unicycling is not much more than for riding a bike. More strength will allow you to correct faster, but building that strength takes a lot longer than learning the movements of unicycling. (at least for probably 99% of the population)

I’d focus on a good warmup if you want to add anything - probably will not directly accelerate learning, but might reduce risk of injury. Nothing too fancy needed, a small jog, some pushups, some quick ankle mobility maybe. Falling off is an unavoidable part of learning to ride, doesn’t hurt to get your body ready for it.

Loosing weight will make unicycling easier. Less weight to carry around. This is especially true uphill.
I was 90 kg and went down to 78kg. It makes a great difference.

well done! 1.5 month ago I was 89 and now Im 83. I figured that by losing weight there would be less chafing, coz my thighs had been getting thicker. I have also been having more problems with my knees. All the more reason to lose weight. So no alcohol or candy and no snacks after dinner. Life has become so boring.

I don’t really want to discuss diets, but I have no trouble eating well and loose weight.
I had problems with knee pains too, they seem to have disappeared, but I think that is just from cycling 1-3 times a week.

I don’t believe in diets just for weight-loss. They can prolly make you lose weight very fast, but just changing my life style will be an improvement, like every time I would get groceries, I would buy cookies or a chocolate bar, which I’d eaten all in the car before arriving home. I still eat pizza once a week, but I’ve been using my Kangoo jumps and unicycled more. I will be happy once I’m below 80kg and then just have to stay there. I just need to think of getting more pleasure out of the unicycle and I might just try the UW again.

I’d let myself balloon up to 120 kg 7 months ago and I weighed in at 101 a few days ago. I’m aiming for 85.

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To clarify; when I wrote diet, I did not mean a temporary “special course of food to restrict myself” but “food and drink regularly consumed”.
In my case I barely had to change what I eat, just how much I eat and how often.

In general, I agree with you. A lifestyle change is necessary for weight loss. But for an efficient weight loss it is necessary to do an extra effort. It’s easier to keep your weight than it is to lower it.

I will note that a natural way is the only way I ever considered. No pills or regurgitation or shortcuts of any kind.
The hardest part is beginning, the trap is at the end and not to gain the weight back on again.

Sorry to be blunt: You “will” fail when you run into hard times in your life, I think.

How did you manage it?

Mostly, I gave up beer, eating out for lunch and started unicycling daily. The rest was a very half-assed version of a keto diet. I just tried to avoid the most obvious of simple carbs and fill up on things like vegetables and protein.

No doubt. When my weight is up even a couple pounds it makes free mounting harder for me on my larger wheels. I do an elliptical in the winter before riding season and total gym for upper body strength training and ads. When I’m not unicycling I bike. Anything that increases your cardio stamina , leg strength and core muscles. is beneficial.

I keep a rough estimate of calories I consume in a day. I call it my (calorie) budget. It’s not that important what I eat, but how many calories I eat. Eg. Eating a bag of crisps (chips) leaves almost no room for anything else, while frozen vegs. barely fills anything.
I don’t like Soda and I only get a pizza a couple times a year. Icecream is something I like, but I handle that by allowing for it in my budget. And if I’m at an event with lots of food, I just eat ca. 500 cal. less a day for the next week to get back to normal.
Weight is ever fluctuating, it’s all about preventing it before it gets out of hand.

What I have found is that protein and fat seem to satiate hunger for longer than carbs and certain vegetables are very low calorie and you can eat as much as you want of those. So I’ll snack on things like sardines, celery or kimchi.

I had somewhat kept my weight under control up to about a year and a half ago, at which point I got a new job that was much more sedentary than my previous one and I gained about 35 lbs in a year.

I’ve not found any specific exercises that help other than working on one’s cardio fitness levels.
I box at least 4 times a week so my cardio is already very good and that really helps with the unicycling, but as others have said, the more you unicycle the easier it gets and the more confident you become on the uni.

Just like with any other sport, you can get better by performing very specific strength training for very specific moves (for example the unicycle high jump), but just like with any other sport, the first few months you will have such a great physical progress, that for the best progression you should just perform the sport. Once you start to hit a ceiling you can think of additional exercises to break through it…

In my search of the “myth” I don’t find any info to support it. More common and almost universally it looks like this, " Regular, moderate activities, such as brisk walking, have been associated with increasing life expectancy by several years. For example, 150 minutes of exercise or more each week increased life expectancy by about 7 years over those who didn’t do regular moderate exercise."
And, " Research has long shown that exercise can improve your life expectancy, because it lowers your risk of developing age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, sedentary activity, which is any low-energy activity that involves sitting, reclining or lying, is linked with disease and early death.

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It’s easy to find evidence for anything you want to study, but there are so many variables that are not take into account in such a study, that I can’t imagine taking it for the truth simply because it is “proven by scientists”.

How about being fitter makes you happier, enjoying life more?
Being fitter makes you less likely to die on accidents or even be in accidents like falling down stairs, etc?

And how about depressions? Being physically and mentally healthy will definitely decrease your chance of getting depressed. All obvious reasons why lives could end sooner.
Maybe not in the way it was researched, but it will change the numbers in favor of the fitter people for sure :wink:

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