That constant circular motion of your legs, coupled with a hunched over position equals chronically tight hip flexors for so many riders. Stretch them, stretch them and stretch them some more!!
Top tips: Check that your feet and knees are in alignment - all facing forwards. Don't let your front knee be infront of your foot. If you're not feeling the stretch in your hip flexors, try stretching your glutes first, then come back to this one.
Needless to say, it’s not just your hip flexors that get a pounding on a bike –especially in the hills or if you’re doing speed work. Your quads work hard too– don’t let them get too tight or you can risk damaging your knees.
Top tips: This isn't the easiest position to get into, but it's definitely effective! To make it easier start with your back knee slightly away from the wall. You can use blocks or a chair in front to help you find your balance. If your knee hurts, put a cushion or pad under it.
Legs at a constantly slightly bent angle leads to chronically shortened hamstrings, which can affect the position of your pelvis and lower back. Classically cyclists have short ones! Give your legs some love with these hamstring stretches.
Top tips: Work towards having a straight leg, but don't lock out your knee. Use a belt, towel, or if you can reach, hands around your calf and slowly ease your leg in towards you. Use your breath - as you breath in, relax and ease off. As you breathe out, try to bring your leg closer in. Take your time!
If you’re gonna wear lycra and ride a bike, having a tight little a…. is quite important!! Your glutes are the most powerful muscle in your body, but if those muscles get too tight, you’ll get your biomechanics all out of whack, reduce performance, and put pressure on your lower back.
Top Tips: If you find balance a problem in this position, use a steadying hand on the wall. Take your time and ease slowly down, as if you're sitting down in a chair. Try to keep your back straight and your stomach muscles slightly engaged.
Hours and hours spent hunched over with your arms out in front, gripping the handle bars equals too tight pecs and rounded shoulders. You might think you don’t need to worry about your upper body, but it’s all about balance. Loosening off those pecs will help with your posture, spinal alignment and also help improve your breathing.
Top Tips: Use a door frame, wall, lamp post or tree. Try putting your hand in different positions to change the stretch - do it 3 times on each side - once with your hand low, once at shoulder height, and once high.
Anyone who’s ever done a long ride will know their neck and shoulders get super stiff. Loosen off your neck and shoulders at the end of the day to stop that hunched up rounded shoulder look.
Top tip: Gently pull on the side of your head to deepen the stretch. Repeat twice on each side, and in between each one, drop your chin forwards and gently roll your head from side to side, to stretch off your neck and between your shoulder blades.
HAPPY RIDING ... if you're keen to learn more about stretches specifically geared to mountain athletes, we have
SUPER STRETCH classes at Chamonix Gym on Sunday at 1830 and Tuesday at 1000.
Click here for more details. See you soon!!