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?

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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Having “extra leg strength” allows for more coordination and sensitivity. Fatigue/exhaustion is the enemy of progress and practice. For example, if you are weak then after 10 minutes of riding while holding a rail you are spent. If you are stronger, then you might be able to go for 30 minutes or even an hour. More practice = closer to “getting it”.

One good “cross training” method that I like to do build strength or just burn extra calories in a short amount of time is to do “standup riding” on an stationary bike. Make sure it’s not a recumbent type. Crank the machine to maximum resistance(my gyms lifecycle goes up to about level 20) and stand up and pedal.

Now, keep in mind your body weight is also being used(pay attention SIF beginners) so you cannot just rock your body left and right to push down the pedal. You must “work with” your body weight drop and down pedal as one fluid motion, and at same time keep your body centered(this is key to SIF). Pedaling requires a very controlled combination of timing and explosive leg power application/release at the right clocking angle.

Also, if you are too erratic, most machines have a safety and will shut you off. It mistakenly senses that you may have fallen off, so even pedal pressure is needed.

Anyways, all this pedal power, timing and maintaining body weight what’s it all mean?
Making your legs stronger, sensitive and coordinated for unicycling. Plus, burning a shit-ton of calories if you can do this for over 10 minutes. Try 20, 30 minutes?

I’ve also pointed out a few things that are key to SIF(seat in front riding = riding a unicycle without sitting on it. Seriously? Yeah…that’s an advanced trick).


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.