For a cyclist to be at the top of their game, their body needs to be in tip-top shape. Many beginners and some experienced riders tend to forget is is the benefits of stretching before and after a bike ride. Because cycling is a repetitive motion exercise, stretching helps limber up the body, ease soreness, and prevent injury. Check out these great stretches for cyclists:
Thoracic Mobility Stretch
After hunching over handlebars while on your ride, you can cause severe tension in your mid-back. A great way to ease this soreness is through the thoracic mobility stretch. To do a thoracic mobility stretch, simply kneel in front of a stable surface like a table or chair on both of your knees. Then you’ll want to place your hands in together, bring both arms up so your elbows are parallel to ears, and finally bend over at the waist and place elbows on the surface. It’s essential to keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle while your neck is in a neutral position. Once you drop the chest towards the floor, you will feel an incredible stretch in your mid-back and lats.
An alternate, mid-ride if you feel stiff, is to pull up next to a guard rail or a fence. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, hold onto the railing (which should ideally be about the height of the bottom of your ribs), and lean back with your bottom while holding on. As you do that arch your spine so that your tummy is lower than your hips and shoulders. Hold this position for about 10-20 seconds and then repeat from scratch again.
Standing Quad Stretch
The most developed muscles in cyclists are the quadriceps which are the group of muscles on the front of the thigh. They’re also prone to the most fatigue for cyclists. The standing quad stretch is great for alleviating soreness in the quadriceps and easy to do right after your bike ride. Start in an upright position, bend your knee to bring your heel toward your buttock, and grab your ankle with your hands. While standing straight, move the hip on that side of your body forward and drive your knee towards the ground. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure to repeat this on the other side as well.
Hip Flexors and Psoas Stretch
Many cyclists often have tight hip flexors, a group of muscles that bring the legs up toward abdomen / chest, due to the cycling motion not allowing the hip to extend fully. For a cyclist to avoid muscle imbalance and post-ride stiffness, it is wise to limber up with hip flexors and psoas stretch. To do this stretch, put one leg forwards and kneel on the other knee. Put your hands on your hips and, like the quadriceps stretch above, slowly drive your hip (from the knee that is on the ground) forward until you feel a stretch just below the hip bone on that side. Hold for about 30 seconds and again repeat on the other leg.