8 Stretches To Improve Your Flexibility And Cycling Performance
There are many types of stretches that improve flexibility and boost cycling performance. The most common stretches focus on the lower half of the body, which is where the most strength is needed as a cyclist. But, stretches that target the upper body are important as well to keep you in prime shape for shifting and steering.
Here are 8 stretches you can do to get the greatest health benefits of biking:
To stretch your calves, stand with your feet apart and have them pointed ahead of you. Step forward with your left leg, bend your knee and hold your position. You’ll want to keep your right leg as straight as possible without straining too much. Hold your body erect as you stretch. Drop your hips into your lunge and a bit forward, just until you feel the back calf stretch. Keep your position for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch on the other side.
Stand up straight and reach back with your left hand. Grab the top of your left foot at the ankle and gently pull towards your bottom. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. The quadriceps are the top cycling muscle and they need to be stretched slowly. Don’t pull too hard, just sink into the stretch.
- IT Band
Your IT Band runs all the way down the side of your leg, and it helps you keep control and balance when you ride. The section of the IT Band from the hip to the knee is the part that cyclists should be most concerned with. Stretch the IT Band by sitting on the floor with both legs outstretched. Cross the left ankle over the right knee and gently sink into the stretch, pressing your bottom leg gently to the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and switch to the other side.
Proper pedaling motion depends on properly stretched and strengthened hamstrings. Cyclists are prone to tightness in the hamstrings, so it’s important to stretch these muscles before every ride. From a standing position, with feet placed shoulders’ width apart, bend at the waist and let the weight of your body pull you gently to the floor. Stand and stretch. Bend your knees slightly for comfort.
Your bottom muscles shouldn’t be overlooked. While sitting on the floor with legs stretched out in front of you, lift your left leg over your right and place your foot flat on the floor around the knee area. Grab your left knee with your arms and pull it close to your torso. Repeat on the other side.
- Shoulders and Neck
Having a flexible shoulders and neck area helps you check traffic easily while you ride. To stretch these muscles, stand up straight and use your left hand to gently tilt your head to the left side. Hold for 20 seconds and then switch hands and direction. Roll your head in clockwise and counter-clockwise circles.
Stretch your core, your trunk and abdomen, and you’ll develop a strong support system for your legs as you ride. While seated on the floor with legs in front of you and your head pulling your body upward, twist your waist to the left and look behind you. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Bonus Hamstring Stretch
After you ride, stretch the hamstrings again by lying flat on your back. Lift your left leg up and grab your toe, ankle, or other comfortable part of your leg. Gently pull your leg back in the direction of your head. Repeat on the other side.
Riding a cruiser bike and riding a hybrid bike are fairly easy, but you’ll get more out of your ride and reduce the risk of injury when you’re properly stretched. All stretched and ready to get out on your adventure? Think about taking a cruise or trail ride on the sixthreezero Paisley 3 Speed Women's 26" Beach Cruiser Bike or the sixthreezero Dreamcycle 3 Speed Women's 26" Beach Cruiser Bike.
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