Cycling is an amazing sport that burns a large number of calories. However, if you aren't familiar with correct technique you can be placing your back, shoulders and neck at risk of pain and injury.

9NEWS asked one of our fitness experts Jamie Atlas to help us understand what good cycling technique looks like, but also some exercises to help you make this your best year on the bike ever.

Technique: Keep your back straight

Imagine the back of your shirt if you were rounded over, the material being pulled taut along the back half of your body. As you cycle, try to keep that material wrinkled (i.e. not taut). This technique can help prevent low back pain and set your hips up for good cycling power.

Technique: Shoulders back in the pocket

Try to create as much distance between your ears and your shoulders. At the same time, imagine a grape between your shoulder blades that you have to keep balanced gently between your shoulder blades in the middle of your upper back. Keeping this position helps minimize stress on your neck and upper back.

Exercises:

Real power for cycling comes from activating the hips and glutes while keeping the back straight. Complete these two exercises for peak cycling performance and minimal chance of back pain

Dive bomber pushup

From a 'downward dog' position (as well known in yoga), slowly drop your body down into a pushup position, the bring your chest up and high. Raise your hips and return to the starting position, focusing on keeping your back straight the whole time. This helps build back and shoulder strength for good posture and technique over long rides.

Step back lunge with double arm reach

As it sounds, take a step back but lean forward with both hands up in the air as if holding a large beach ball in front of you. Keep the eyes looking towards the ground in front of you and (most importantly), keep the back straight.

Cycling is an example of a sport that is a single movement pattern repeated thousands of times. If you are able to, get a bike that is fitted well for your body and practice your technique so you can cycle at your best, but also prevent common injuries that hold back even the most dedicated of cyclists.

Jamie Atlas owns Bonza Bodies, a downtown personal training studio and was voted 4x 5280 Top Of The Town Best Denver Personal Trainer and has written multiple articles on cycling and peak performance. To reach Jamie with questions or inquiries email jamie@jamieatlas.com or go to www.jamieatlas.com