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Stretches for Cyclists

   Words by David Hicks

   on 30/06/2020 17:08:18

streching-for-cycling

For us as cyclists, stretching is one of those things that we know we probably should do but rarely follow through with. The good news is that including a simple stretching routine as part of your post-ride routine is easy to do and will have a number of benefits for you - from less muscle soreness, to better muscular flexibility, and more comfort in your usual position on the bike.

We teamed up with Becky Hair, a physiotherapist, cyclist and Specialized Ambassador, to walk us through some of her top tips for stretching after cycling. Check out the full video below, or read on to find out a little more about each stretch and the benefits of including them in your routine. Each stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds.

Adductor Stretch

You should feel this stretch on the inside of the top of your leg. Adductors are often the forgotten muscle group, and it’s an important one to focus on if you experience knee pain or when your bike fit or cleat set up isn’t quite perfect.

How to do it:

  • Sit up with your back against a wall
  • Move your feet into a diamond position in front of you
  • Gently push your knees down

Hip Flexor Lunge

This stretch will work those muscles at the front of the hip. Hip flexors can be problem areas if you spend a lot of time sitting down such as at work (or even on the bike!). This can lead to a limited range of motion through your hips.

How to do it:

  • Place one knee out in front of you, with your back foot relaxes
  • Keep your pelvis straight, pointing forward and avoid opening up to the side
  • Lean forward slightly until you feel the stretch as you open the hips
  • Raise the hand on the side you’re stretching up above your head and lean away towards the other side of your body
  • Keep your body upright and resist the temptation to tilt your body forwards

Hamstring Stretch

You should feel this stretch at the back of your leg towards the top. Similar to your hip flexors, hamstrings can get very tight when sitting for a long time, or on the bike.

How to do it:

  • From the position that you’ve been in for the hip flexor lunge stretch, simply sit your bottom backwards
  • Keep one leg in front and to increase the stretch bring your toe up towards you
  • Make sure that you maintain good posture with your torso

Child's Pose

A yoga classic, you should feel this stretch across the lower and upper back and it will help loosen off those back muscles and joints that can get sore in your normal cycling position.

How to do it:

  • Sit back onto your feet
  • Bring your hands to the floor out in front of you
  • Draw your shoulder blades forwards and open up the top of your back

Cat-Cow

Another yoga stalwart, cat-cow stretches out along the full length of your back and is a good stretch for back mobility and ‘switching on’ your core.

How to do it:

  • Come to all fours with your knees beneath your hips and hands beneath your shoulders
  • Push your back upwards to create a nice curve, then arch your back down and stick your bottom upwards
  • Think about leading this movement with your pelvis by tucking it under as you arch your back, and try to get your core to activate.

Hamstring and back roll down

You should feel this stretch in your lower back and hamstring muscles at the back of the top of your legs. This stretch is a more functional position, so perfect for stretching out any soreness during a rest stop, mid-ride.

How to do it:

  • Standing up, roll your chin down to your chest
  • Slowly bend forwards and fold down, folding from the hip and lengthening your hamstrings as you go
  • As you breathe out, try and get closer to the floor each time
  • If you like, add a twist in to improve thoracic flexion

ITB roll down

Also suitable for doing during a rest stop when you’re out riding, you should feel this stretch across your lower back, hamstring muscles and slightly down the side of your front leg.

How to do it:

  • Standing, cross your feet over (keeping them wide enough that you still have some stability)
  • Bring your chin to your chest and roll your upper body forwards as you reach down to your toes
  • Add a twist in to help with thoracic mobility and when ready, swap your legs over to stretch the other side

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