How To 

Stretching For Cycling Guide

Cycling is one of the most strenuous and comprehensive physical activities out there; it requires strength and conditioning in your legs, arms, chest and back. So, it should come as no surprise that keeping your body loose and stretched is vital to finding success in the saddle.

1. Day-to-Day Stretching & Posture
First, some helpful tips to keep you loose throughout your work week. When seated, try to keep your back straight and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Support your forearms. Get up to walk around or stretch your legs every 30 minutes. Don't carry work bags, purses or luggage on one shoulder.

Posture is largely mental. Start training yourself to be more aware of your posture in your day-to-day life. You can do this by setting alarms on your phone, leaving post-its around your house / office, or by choosing a Posture Color. Perhaps it's red. When you see red in the world - a stop sign, an exit sign, an apple in the break room - you will be reminded to actively check and adjust your posture. Soon this will become second natured.



2. Pre-Ride
It's always wise to stretch before any workout and cycling is no exception. If you plan on a short, higher intensity ride, you actually need to spend more time stretching and warming-up. If you plan on a ride of an hour or two, 15-20 minutes should be enough. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, IT band, quads and gluteus muscles. Holding and repeating a few simple stretches and yoga poses will do. The idea is to get your blood flowing and internal energy production started up. Work out your shoulders, neck, triceps and flexors as well - before finishing off with some arm, ankle and knee circles. You should feel loose and flexible by the time you hop into the saddle.



3. Post-Ride
Post-ride stretching is even more important, as your body transitions from exercise to recovery. Spend a similar amount of time running through the same stretches. Hamstrings, quads and glutes are key. Try adding in some more yoga poses for your core and back as well. Consider the cat-cow, downward dog and camel poses.

It's important to know your body, as everybody reacts differently to exercise. If your hips are sore after a ride, spend extra time stretching out your hips and thinking what else might be effecting you negatively in terms of bike fit, posture, etc. Remember: keeping fit is an ongoing process.



Follow these steps to keep limber throughout the week and begin to hone your personalized pre-ride and post-ride stretching routines.
 

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