Cycling is a strenuous exercise that engages the legs and can put pressure and stress on a rider's upper body, if they aren't keeping proper form. A solid stretching routine after every bike ride can help ward off aches and pains and prevent injuries. Here's a list of stretching exercises designed to help cyclists stay healthy and improve performance.
The quadriceps are the go-to muscle when it comes to cycling, meaning they produce most of the power and forward momentum. The quads are engaged when you push downward on the pedal and then straighten your leg to propel forward. It's crucial to keep this muscle from getting tight, or worse, injured.
To stretch your quad post-cycle, find a wall to stabilize yourself. Reach back and grab your right ankle and pull up and back until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Be sure not to lean forward by keeping your core engaged and your hips in line with each other. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and switch legs.
Hamstrings also come into play as you're cycling and are used as you bend your knee back after pushing down on the pedal. Tight hamstrings can keep you from your full range of motion on the bike, so be sure to stretch them.
To stretch your hamstring while standing, kick your right leg slightly in front of you and rest on your right heel, bend into the stretch slightly with your left leg, hands on your hips. Sit deeper for a deeper stretch. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch legs.