Roll out tight muscles
The foam roller should be your friend. It’s an excellent tool for cyclists, says Lorna Chapman of www.lunayogawinchester.co.uk, but you need to persevere with it – and learn to love it – if you’re to get the most out of this versatile bit of kit. Here’s how…
This works deep into the piriformi muscles, which are notoriously tight in cyclists. Sit on the roller with your hands on the floor behind you. Bring your right ankle across the left thigh. Move sideways onto the right buttock and roll forwards and backwards. You’ll know when you’ve hit the right spot!
This move works into the outer edge of the thighs, the iliotibial band (ITB), which can tighten in the saddle. Lie with your right outer thigh against the roller and support your upper body by placing your right forearm on the floor in front of you. Place your left hand on the floor between the roller and your right forearm. Keep your abs drawn in to support the lower back and keep you body aligned. This is painful to begin with but it’s very effective.
Thigh, oh, thigh
This is another move that may make your eyes water at first. Lie prone, with the front of your thighs on the roller and your forearms on the floor/ Roll up and down to massage the quads (the front of your thighs). Repeat on the back of your thighs to massage the hamstrings: work gradually from the top area near the glutes down towards the back of the knees.
When you’re riding your bike, your feet, shins and calf muscles stay fixed in position, so they need stretching and massaging when you’re off the bike. Kneel with your shins on the roller and move forwards and backwards. The turn over and cross your lower legs to roll on your calf muscles, using your arms for support.
This counters that hunched-over cycling position and is best done with a long roller. Lie on the roller, supporting your head with a cushion. Place your arms at right angles to your body and let the front of the shoulders open. Close your eyes and focus on your natural breathing for up to 15 minutes. Allow your body to relax a little more with each exhalation.
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