Top stretches for cyclists
Stay supple and improve your cycling with these four simple post-ride stretches to target tight glutes, tired quads and counteract the rounded-shoulder position we all adopt in the saddle…
Ham it up
Lie on your back, bend up your right knee, placing your right foot flat on the floor. Raise your left leg, keeping it straight, but avoid locking the knee. You can bend the knee a small amount if you are prone to hyper-extension. Place a strap around the ball of your left foot. While exhaling, gently draw your left foot and toes towards you until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg in the hamstring and calf. Hold and breathe deeply. Then take the left leg across the body, keeping the left hip rooted down, to stretch the outside of the leg and the iliotibial band.
This will stretch your quads – the muscles at the front of the thigh. Step the right foot forwards, bringing the ankle below the knee, and place your left knee on the floor behind. Slowly move in and out of the lunge several times, then hold to work the hip flexor. Now take your left hand to your left ankle or foot and draw the knee towards your buttocks for a deep quad stretch. Do not do this if it causes knee pain though – if you are able to, roll over the kneecap onto the fleshy area above the knee.
As the name suggests, this will help to stretch your glutes – also known as your backside. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Bring your right foot across your left thigh, just above the knee. Place your right hand on your right knee to open the hip out a little. Then take both hands around the shin or back of thighs and lift the left foot off the floor to stretch the glutes and piriformis muscles. You can increase the intensity of the stretch by raising your forehead towards your knees, but keep your core engaged and your shoulders relaxed.
Bridge over troubled waters
Lie on your back and bend your knees, bringing the heels into the buttocks. Place your hands flat on the floor by your hips. Slowly raise and lower your back from the floor five times and then hold the hips up, pushing the feet into the floor. If possible, clasp your hands under your back to increase the stretch in the front of your shoulders. This counteracts the rounded-back position you adopt in the saddle.
Do all four stretches in both sides. You should find they become easier with practice.
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