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Essential Stretches for Cyclists

Posted: 1 August 2021 Guest Posts

With spring on the horizon, many people are dusting off their bikes and dreaming of warm, sunny days. But while it's great to get back in the saddle, you'll also want to look after your muscles so you can stay riding comfortably and injury-free.

With that in mind, here are some of my favourite stretches for cyclists.

Quadriceps ('drivers')

Not visible: towel under right butt cheek
  1. Sit on the ground in the position above with a rolled-up mat or towel under the butt cheek of your straight leg. (The mat/towel keeps your hips level.)
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles, squeeze your glutes, tuck the pelvis under a little and lean backwards onto your arms.
  3. To stretch further, lean further back on your elbows.
  4. To deepen the stretch yet again, you can introduce some proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (more simply known as PNF). PNF relies on a contract/relax method, and is a great technique to safely increase your flexibility and muscle strength.

See? There it is.

But how do I PNF? And can I use it as a verb?

(Yes, you can use it as a verb. But just this time.)

For this stretch, you need to:

  • press your left foot into the floor,
  • hold for 5-6 seconds and relax,
  • then take a deep breath in, tightening your abdominals as you re-stretch, lowering your trunk closer to the floor.

You can do this twice more if required.

Now repeat the whole stretch on the opposite leg.

What if one side is tighter than the other?

Easy: repeat once more on that side.

NB: No cheating! Don't hyper-extend your back to reach further. You are not a human pretzel.

Stop that.

Piriformis (deep butt muscle)

  • Sit side-saddle on your friend the rolled-up mat/towel, with your front hip and knee at 90 degrees, as above.
  • Using your arms, slowly walk your torso away from your front leg. As you do, begin to straighten your back leg, extending it so the sole of the foot faces the ceiling (as in the pic below).
  • Now slowly walk your arms back around so your chest is level with the midpoint between the knee and heel of your front leg.
  • Secure your front heel by placing your hand behind it, like this:
  • Now take a deep breath, lift your chest, and, as you breathe out, slowly lower your torso toward the midpoint.
  • To intensify the stretch, yup, it's PNF again! Press the ankle of your front foot into the floor and hold for 5-6 seconds. Release, take a deep breath, and breathe out as you sink further into the stretch. (You can repeat this step twice more if you wish.)
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

And there you have it! For best results, do these stretches a couple of times a week to help keep you supple and injury-free.

Stay tuned for part two coming soon...

We could do this; we just don't wanna.

Hi! I'm Holly Hicks, the founder of Fluid Movement and Wellbeing and the Restore+Rebalance Stretch Program. For the past 20 years, I've treated thousands of people in clinical practice as an elite sports and remedial massage therapist, and taught hundreds of in-person stretch classes and workshops as a stretch therapy coach.

Classes, courses and private individual or group programs available, in person and online. Join me on Facebook, sign up for my free newsletter (and even more videos!) and subscribe to Fluid Movement and Wellbeing's YouTube channel. You can also get in touch with me directly at fluidmaw@gmail.com

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