4 Good Cycling Stretches
One of our Loving the Bike friends, @myrnacgmibus recently suggested that we do a post on good cycling stretches. She told me that she doesn’t really know when to stretch or what stretches to do. So this post is for you, Myrna and I hope there are others out there that can benefit from this as well.
When to Stretch
There are a couple methodologies when it comes to stretching….the pre-workout and post-workout stretch. There are differing opinions, but the way I look at it is this:
Regular tightness that comes from cycling: If you’re out there pumping hard with your legs, odds are your leg muscles are going to be tight. For this type of tightness I suggest doing post-workout stretches, meaning that you find time later in the day to stretch out the legs.
Pains, aches, and soreness that flare up during cycling: If you have nagging injuries that often tighten up during a ride and cause what I call “Bad Pain”, then these muscles should be stretched pre-workout. Give them a good stretch prior to going out on your ride so that the muscles can relax a little.
What Stretches to Perform
I am not going to get into the pre-workout stretches used to help ease your pain and soreness, because these will be dependent on what type of “bad pain” you experience and where it is located. If you’d like to contact me about it, I would be more than happy to give you my recommendation.
But I am going to give you 4 good stretches to be performed post-workout. There are countless stretches that can be performed, but these are the ones that I feel target common areas affected by cycling. Each of these stretches focuses on an area of the legs, but inadvertently will stretch out your lower back as well.
How Long to Hold a Stretch?
When I worked as a personal trainer, I always got asked how long to hold a stretch. If you research it, you’ll get varying answers…but my response is that it generally takes 16 seconds for a muscle to relax. So hold the stretch for a very minimum of 16 seconds, up to as long as you like. There really is no maximum cut off time.
Cycling Stretch #1 – Quad Stretch
The quads are definitely the most worked part of a cyclist’s body. The method I suggest for this stretch shouldn’t be done if you have knee problems or if you are very un-flexible. If this is the case, go with the standing quad stretch instead.
Cycling Stretch #2 – Glute Stretch
A cyclist’s glutes are also sure to tighten, especially if you’re doing climbs. Tight glutes also often mean a tight lower back.
Cycling Stretch #3 – Easy Side Bend
A nice filler stretch that covers the secondary areas.
Cycling Stretch #4 – Hamstring Stretch
Another good one to balance out the leg stretches. Tight hamstrings can lead to a tight lower back…so it should help out with that as well.
DISCLAIMER: Although I am a certified personal trainer, I’m not ready to be held responsible for any complications that come from using the stretches I recommend. I do feel they are safe, but you never know what can happen so use these tips at your own risk. Additionally, if you have any injuries or physical limitations that may be affected by doing these stretches, please check it out and get clearance before trying any of these out. Happy Stretching.