Stretching should be incorporated into your cooldown after a ride of any length. Stretching is important in reversing the tightening effect that training and prolonged positioning on the bike can have in your muscles. It is also suggested that stretching may help with recovery and less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Stretching post ride is easy – you can even use your bike to help.
1. Neck and Shoulders
Keeping your gaze straight ahead, tilt your neck to bring your ear towards your shoulder. You can use your hand on the top of your head to gently pull your head downwards until you feel a stretch down the side of your neck and into your shoulder. Hold for 30 – 60 sec then repeat on the opposite side.
Stand beside a pole, wall or doorway. Raise your arm parallel with your shoulder and position the inside of your elbow against the pole. Step forward with the foot that is closest to the pole and gently turn your chest away from your elbow until you feel a stretch across the front of your chest. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds then repeat with the opposite arm.
3. Torso Twist
Straddling your top tube, place one hand on your saddle and the other on your handlebars. Keeping your hips facing forward, pull yourself to twist towards the hand placed on the saddle. You will feel this stretch along the sides of the torso. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds then repeat in the opposite direction.
Using your bike as a steady point, cross one foot over the other knee, making the “number 4” shape with your legs. Gently hinge at the hips and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the hip and gluteals of the leg that is crossed over the standing leg. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds then repeat on the opposite leg.
Place your heel on the ground in front of you with your knee straight. Hinging at the hips, draw your chest towards your thigh until you feel a stretch down the back of the leg. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds, then repeat on the opposite leg.
Use your bike as a balance point and stand on one leg with your knees touching. Grab your ankle and pull towards your butt. Keep your chest up without arching your lower back. Hold for 30- 60 seconds then repeat on the opposite leg.
Keeping clipped in or with your foot on the pedal, straighten your knee and drop your heel towards the ground. You will feel this throughout the calf muscle. Hold 30 – 60 seconds then repeat on the opposite leg.
Lindsay Geddes is a Registered Physiotherapist at Synergy Physio in North Vancouver, BC and treats athletes of all levels, from recreational to elite. Outside of the clinic, Lindsay loves to take part in endurance sports and is usually training for a triathlon, gran fondo or marathon.