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Five post-cycling stretches: Assume the position

Hip flexor stretch
Cyclist magazine
20 Mar 2020

Five simple stretches to soothe your tired muscles after a ride or turbo session

Whether you're still able to ride outside or you've found yourself confined to turbo-only training, stretching can be an often-overlooked but very beneficial part of any cyclist's training regime.

Ease strained muscles after a ride with these five stretches from elite coach Will Newton at limitlessfitness.com

1 Downward dog

How: Start face down on your hands and knees with your spine neutral, then push up and back. Hold for 30 seconds, increasing the stretch as you breathe out. Repeat four times.

Why: ‘This stretches the hamstrings and calves, which are often really tight in cyclists,’ says Newton.

‘You can move your legs further out behind you to target the calves, while a narrower stance will target the hamstrings. Really push into it to get the full benefit.’

2 Hip flexor stretch

How: Kneel on one leg, but instead of lunging contract your glutes hard and rotate your pelvis backward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Do four reps per side.

Why: ‘There’s not a lot of movement here, but contracting the glutes engages the antagonistic, or opposing, muscle to stretch the hip flexors.

‘You’re basically teaching the hip flexors that when the glutes are “on” they can relax and stretch – and many cyclists suffer from tight hips.’

3 Pretzel stretch

How: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hips touching the floor, then raise your left leg and rest your ankle on your right knee.

Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Do four reps per side.

Why: ‘This targets the glutes, which take a lot of punishment on the bike. To increase the stretch, move your right foot closer to your glutes or hold the back of your right leg and pull it up towards you – but making sure your hips stay on the floor.’

4 T-spine stretch

How: Lie back with a foam roller on a section of your thoracic spine – your middle and upper back. Brace your abs and, with your hands on the back of your head, allow the weight of your head and shoulders to arch your upper body back. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Why: ‘Cycling places a lot of stress on the T-spine, which you ask to hold a fixed position when it’s meant to be mobile.

‘Do a couple of sections per day but no more or it will hurt.’

5 Book-opening stretch

How: Lie on your left side with your arms out, and bring your right knee up. Raise your right arm up and all the way over to the other side until your arm is parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and do two reps per side.

Why: ‘This gives you extra mobility in your T-spine and also stretches the pectoralis minor in your chest to counter your hunched posture on the bike.

‘It’s important to keep the knee up because this keeps your lower back neutral.’

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