I think that stretching is really important for everyone to include after exercise so I thought I’d share a quick lesson in stretching for cyclists. Some people advocate stretching both before and after exercise but I prefer to stretch when my muscles are warm so I always make it an after exercise discipline. If I don’t stretch I find that when I get out of bed in the morning I have tight calf muscles and feel a general stiffness in my leg muscles.
I recommend that you hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to get a benefit.
Lie on your stomach and use your arms to gently raise your torso. Some people will make it just to their elbows while others may be more flexible and be able to put the palms of their hands on the floor.
Whilst on your hands and knees, arch and lower your back to stretch the spine. I’ve done this one in yoga and it’s good to coordinate your breathing with the cat stretch.
Buttock lower back stretch
Lie down on your back and gently pull one leg towards your chest while keeping the other leg straight. Grasp your hands together and hold the knee in this position.
Lower back and side hip stretch
Lie on the floor, bend one knee and cross it over your other leg until it’s touching or almost touching the floor.
Lie on the floor and cross one leg over the other, then hold the leg that is furthest away and pull it towards your chest.
While seated on the floor put one leg straight out in front with the other leg crossed over, then turn your torso away from the bent leg.
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and your knees outwards. Apply gentle pressure down with your elbows on your knees.
While standing, bend one leg and hold your foot. Keep your hips forward and square and keep your buttocks tucked under. This one is an essential stretch for cyclists because these muscles do so much work on the bike.
I do my calf stretches while standing on a step and dropping my heel down. They can also be done by leaning against a wall with your hands.
Cyclists often end up with tight hamstrings so it’s really important to stretch them. This can be done whilst seated on the ground with your legs straight out in front and reaching to your feet. You can also do it standing by putting one leg on a step.