Your back grabbing you on big days in the saddle? Uma Kleppinger, author and creator of BikeYoga (bikeyoga.com) — an integrated system designed to improve flexibility, reduce pain, and ease recovery — suggests these roadside stretches to help offset the tightness and muscle tension that come with long rides. Practice them daily to build strength and flexibility, and use them on short breaks during epics.
Crouching pigeon, hidden firebird
Stand and cross your right foot just above your left knee and flex your right ankle, pressing it lightly into your left knee. Bend your left leg until you feel a stretch in your right hip, glutes and IT band. Keeping your back straight, reach your arms up to stretch your midback. Hold for 20 breaths, then switch sides; repeat.
Step your left leg forward and sink down until that knee is directly over your left ankle and your right knee rests behind you. Exhaling, slowly twist left, bracing your right arm against your outer left knee. Gaze over your left shoulder to stretch your neck, back and intercostal muscles (the ones between your ribs). Count out 20 slow breaths, gradually deepening the twist; switch sides.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back. Lift your sternum and gaze slightly upward. Breathing deeply, reach your hands back and down, straighten your elbows and continue to lift your chest. Hold for one minute. Repeat twice. This helps open your arms, back, lungs and heart — and reverses hours of poor on-the-bike posture.Loosen up at a yoga class.