Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise for many reasons.
Whether you enjoy the freedom and the experience of cycling on an open road or through cities, or you do it for the health benefits, there are many reasons cyclists love what they do. However, it isn’t easy to keep your body in prime condition for daily bike rides.
Regardless of whether you are biking for hours or only doing a short ride through your neighborhood, taking care of your legs and back is necessary to for cycling success.
Fortunately, there are many stretches you can use which will balance your body from cycling workouts.
Although cycling is an excellent form of exercise, riding your bicycle trains a select few muscle groups far more than all others. As stated in a study conducted in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, cycling predominately works the muscles surrounding your knee and hip extensors.
If you want a healthy cycling career, the stretches listed below will help avoid muscle imbalances and keep you fresh for each ride!
Natural Squatting Position (Mālāsana)
In yoga, it is known as Mālāsana or Frog Pose. In other spheres of athletic training, it is known as natural squatting position.
Regardless, sitting at the bottom of the squat position is one of the absolute best stretches for cyclists.
Mālāsana is one of the best stretches for improving your lower body range of motion and assessing any imbalances you already have.
As a stretch, mālāsana is an excellent hip opener, while also nurturing the muscles of your quadriceps and your knee joint. Especially for those who have chronic hip tightness, Frog Pose is an excellent option.
People who avidly ride their bike each day are exceptionally prone to having overtight hip flexors due to constant peddling. Over time, this tightness will cause back problems and other issues.
Frog pose is a stretch you can do each day to help keep your hips open and your legs functioning well.
You can start with short-duration sets of mālāsana, and you can even feel free to hold onto a poll or other fixture infront of you until you are more comfortable in the position. A great goal is five total minutes of Frog Pose per day, even if you need to break it up into multiple sets.
In many ways, downward-facing dog is the antithesis of the bike riding position. Practicing downward facing dog will help you achieve a proper bike riding position more efficiently, and it will strengthen many of the necessary postural muscles for your bike rides.
Downward dog is an excellent stretch for cyclists because it is one of the most natural positions for stretching your calves and your hamstrings.
Standing forward-folds and seated forward-folds are often used as “hamstring” stretches, yet they generally target the lower back for most people.
Instead of using these basic hamstring stretches, you can use downward dog to lengthen your hamstrings and calf properly, while also building strength through your core and upper body.
Downward dog is also an excellent stretch to help decompress your spinal cord and the muscles of your back since it is an opposing posture to many movements we do each day (sitting at a computer, driving, texting, etc.).
If you are a cyclist with a nagging back issue, taking cobra pose will do often do wonders for you.
Using a high-cobra pose is possibly the best stretch for the muscles of your abdominals, while low-cobra is an excellent strengthening pose for your lower back and core muscles.
Cobra is a necessary pose for cyclists because you are always leaning over your handles and hunching your back. Even for those people who cycle with perfect posture, you can always do additional work to improve your back and core.
Taking cobra pose for 30 seconds or more a few times is a simple way to stretch your abdominal muscles and keep your back safe from overuse injuries!
Cycling is an excellent exercise for both men’s and women’s fitness, with numerous impressive health benefits. Cycling is great for weight loss, cardiovascular health and endurance, heart health, and much more.
A well-rounded stretching routine should contain twenty or more unique stretching positions, but not everyone has time for that. However, nearly everyone has time for a few specific stretches per day.
The stretches listed above are excellent poses for balancing your muscles and reducing the chance of injuries from overuse.
As a simple routine, you can hold each of these stretches for 30-seconds to one minute in a “circuit.” Although there are only three stretches, these three hit the major muscle groups that cyclists need to work on the most.
Now it your turn!
Let us know which stretches you’re going to try first in the comments section below!