7 Simple Stretches for Cyclists

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There are many types of stretches and most are good, if done correctly. The main cycling stretches focus on the lower body.

Reading a stretching manual or following an experienced person is the best way to learn the best form.

"Even if you're obsessed with cycling, you still do more than ride, Anderson writes. If you run, play other sports, or just sit at a desk all day, stretching helps protect you from injury and dissipates tension, says Bob Anderson in his definitive book, Stretching.

More: 3 Roadside Stretches for Cyclists

Calves

Standing with your feet pointed straight ahead, step forward with your right leg and bend your knee, keeping your left foot firmly planted on the ground behind you.

Keep your upper-body erect and drop your hips forward until you feel the stretch in your calf (dont bend over at the waist use your hips to move) Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate.

Quadriceps

Standing, reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot at the top of the ankle, and pull up towards your butt.

The quads are the biggest cycling muscle, and deserve a very slow stretch, careful not to pull too hard too fast. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate legs.

Quick tip: Heighten the stretch by tightening your butt muscles.

IT Band

The IT Band runs down the side of your leg and helps in balance and control; the section of this band that affects cyclists is between the hip and knee.

A tight or inflamed IT band can cause tendonitis or knee alignment issues.

Stretch from a sitting position: cross the left leg across the right knee and gently push down on the left knee. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate.

More: Tight IT Band? 3 Simple Exercises to Fix it Now

Hamstrings

The pedaling motion develops short and powerful hamstrings. Unlike running, which lengthens hamstrings, cyclists are prone to tightness in these muscles. This is why your "hams" might ache if you're a cyclist who runs on occasion.

This makes it very important to stretch hamstrings slowly and carefully.

Standing, bend over at the waist and let your arms dangle toward the ground, letting the knees bend slightly outward. This stretch benefits greatly from deep, steady breathing youll find that you can touch the ground after several slow, deep breaths.

Gluteus

The butt muscles are perhaps the most oft-overlooked muscles in cycling stretching.

From a cross-legged sitting position on the floor, angle your left leg over the right and plant left foot next to right knee, so your left leg forms a triangle.

Grasp the front of your left knee and lean forward, careful to keep your back straight. Feel the stretch along your left hamstring. This releases the piraformis, a connecting muscle that often tightens after sitting on a saddle. Perform this stretch with both legs.

Neck and Shoulders

Checking for traffic and other riders behind you is where the neck muscles come into play.

Standing, gently roll your head in a circle several times, then rotate directions. Shrug your shoulders upwards and hold for five seconds. Repeat several times.

Core

Your trunk of abdomen and back muscles are the support system for your legs as they pedal.

The best stretch is actually doing crunches or back extensions to help strengthen these varied muscles.

You can do a simple back twist from the gluteus-stretch position, by twisting your trunk to look behind, one side and then the other. Feel the stretch in your abdomen.

More: Flexibility Training: Cycling Stretches

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