Stretching Exercises for Cyclists

5 Essential Cycling Stretches to Keep Tight Muscles Flexible

Maintain flexibility in muscles prone to tightening through a simple set of key stretching exercises which should be practiced everyday for maximum benefit.

Cycling is an exhilarating sport that can be enjoyed by anyone but it also has its problems if practiced regularly. The main issue is that leg muscles lose flexibility, as they do not go through a full range of motion. This results in shortening and tightening of the muscles, in particular the hamstrings, which can, in turn, lead to lower back problems.

Practicing some essential cycling stretches on a regular basis can prevent such problems from occurring and prevention is always better than a cure. These stretching exercises focus on the muscle groups that are not fully utilised when on the bike.

How to Stretch

All these stretching exercises for cyclists are best done after a ride when the body and muscles are still warm. They are performed as static stretches, a method created by Bob Anderson in 1980 in his book Stretching, where the muscle is flexed to a point of slight discomfort and held for several breaths.

Follow the exercises in conjunction with the pictures below.

Quadriceps Stretch

Balance against a bike or a wall and grasp the right foot behind the back with the left hand.

Gently pull the foot up and away without bending at the waist. Repeat with the other leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Lean on the bike and bend over at the waist.

Place one foot forwards and the other directly behind to form a triangle. Lower the body slightly with the weight on the front foot, which is where the hamstring stretch should be felt.

Increase the stretch by lowering the body still further if comfortable. Repeat with the other leg.

Pulldowns: Lats, Trapezius and Triceps Stretch

Balance on the bike with weight resting on the arms.

Let the head drop deeply between the shoulder blades to create a powerful stretch in the lats and triceps.

Pulling down with the arms increases the stretch further.

Squats: Lower Back Stretch

Hold onto the bike for balance and squat down keeping heels on the floor.

Try to lower the backside as close to the heels as possible to maximise the stretch.

Calf Stretch

Lean against a wall and place the leg to be stretched backwards with the other in front taking most of the weight.

Keep the heel of the rear foot firmly on the floor with the toe pointing in front. Push the hips forward as far as is comfortable to stretch the calf.

Repeat with the other leg.

Whilst these exercises are key, additional flexibility can be gained by incorporating some classic yoga stretches such as the Sun Salutation into the weekly training routine.

Benefits of Stretching for Cyclists

Practice these five essential cycling stretches every day, especially after a ride, to maintain flexible hamstrings and other muscles prone to shortening through cycling.

Related Articles

Take a look at our Yoga stretching for cyclists. If you feel the need for a more spiritual stretch at the end of a ride, Hmmmmm!