Think you don’t have time for yoga? Think again! Just a few minutes of stretching and deep breathing every time you ride will pay off with greater flexibility than a once-weekly yoga class. That means more comfort and less pain—on and off your bike. These 3 simple stretches will help offset tightness, fatigue and muscle shortening that cycling produces.
For long endurance rides, do these once every couple of hours. It may seem counter-intuitive to stop riding your bike to stretch, but doing so will help boost your endurance by reducing fatigue and helps flush stagnant lactic acid buildup. Not to mention how much better your neck and shoulders will feel from releasing tension.
Mountain bikers would benefit most from doing these stretches before getting in the car to drive home from the trailhead.
<–CROUCHING PIGEON, HIDDEN FIREBIRD Cross your right foot just above your left knee and flex your ankle. Bend your standing leg, coming down until you feel a deep stretch into your outer right hip, glutes and IT band. Reach your arms up to strengthen and stretch your back muscles. Hold for 10-20 breaths and then do the other side.
–>STANDING COBRA Stand with your feet separated about 6” apart and parallel. Clasp your hands together behind your back. Lift your sternum upper chest and look slightly upward. Straighten your elbows and reach your hands back. Hold for 20 breaths.
<–TWISTED MISTER Lunge your right leg forward and bring your left knee down (use a glove to pad your back knee for comfort on a rocky trail). On a deep exhalation, twist to your right, bracing your left arm against your knee or thigh. Turn and look as far to the right as you can to stretch your neck too. Hold for 15 breaths, then do the other side.