You expect sore quads, calves and glutes after copious saddle time. But according to a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, back pain is the most common overuse injury reported by competitive cyclists. Even if you don't pin on a race number every weekend, "simple yoga-based stretches align your spine; relieve back, neck and shoulder pain; and create flexibility in your upper body," says Alyssa Dinowitz, founder of Athletes Yoga in Tempe, Arizona. Do this sequence two or three times a week to keep your back going strong.
Tilt and Hold
Sit up tall in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Bend your head and neck forward as far as possible, keeping your shoulders down. Lace your fingers together behind your head, elbows out to the sides, and press gently on the back of your head. Hold for eight deep breaths, then release. Repeat three times.
Eagle Arm PoseStay seated and extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Cross your left arm over your right, raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor, and twist your palms inward until they touch. Inhale and raise your arms slightly; exhale and lower. That's one rep. Do five; unwind, switch arms and repeat.
Sit on a mat and place your right foot on the floor outside your left knee. Slide your left foot back, tucking it under your right thigh. Inhale, lift your left arm overhead, then lower your elbow to the outside of your right knee. Place your right hand on the floor behind you; exhale and twist to the right. Hold for five breaths; then repeat on the other side. (Strengthen your core with these 6 No-Crunch Core Moves.)
Start on all fours, back flat, eyes focused on the floor. Inhale. As you exhale, round your spine like a cat, drop your head, and tuck your chin toward your chest. Inhale, then arch your back toward the floor, lifting your hips, tailbone and chest toward the ceiling, directing your gaze upward. Exhale as you return to cat pose. Do the sequence 10 times.
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