Monday, June 4, 2018

Stretch Away: Stretches for Cycling Pain


Cycling for long hours can be painful and cause your muscles to get stiff. Do your body a favor and stretch out after your rides to help alleviate the pain. These stretches will help get your body back to feeling good and help prevent you from getting injured.

Neck and Back Pain

Shoulder Shrugs

This exercise can be done on the go, but it’s most effective while standing next to a wall. Place your back against the wall. Let your shoulders and heels touch the wall. Spread your legs shoulder width apart. Lift your shoulders up, so they slide up against the wall and towards the ceiling. Then slide your shoulders down towards the floor. Take this stretch slow to prevent your back from arching or curving.

Elbow Rows

Sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you. Keep you back and neck straight. Punch out both arms in front of you. Your arms should make a straight line with your shoulders. Bend your elbows and pretend like you are pulling an oar straight backwards. Squeeze the shoulder blades back together and hold. To make this stretch more difficult you can add a resistance band.

Bird Dogs

Bird dogs are great for helping stretch out the entirety of your back while also helping prevent a back injury from occurring. To do bird dogs, lay a towel or yoga mat on the ground. Start by getting on your hands and knees on the ground. Slowly extend your right arm forward while extending your left leg back. Try to get your extended arm and leg as parallel to the ground as possible. Hold the extended position for five seconds before returning back to the starting position. Alternate and stretch out your left arm and your right leg.

Walking Planks

These are like normal planks, but with an added step. Lie down a towel or yoga mat on the floor and stand with your feet on the edge of the mat, with the mat facing in front of you. Bend down to touch your finger tips to the ground. Slowly walk your hands out until they are in a push up position. Do a plank. After you plank, walk your hands back up to your feet and stand up.

  

Leg Pain

Foot Pulls

This stretch can be done on the go, giving your quads a bit of a break. Stand with feet together. Grab your right foot, bend your right knee, and slowly bring your right heel to touch your glutes. Hold the top of your right foot and pull it into your glute. Hold for 30 seconds and then relax your foot back down to the starting position. Switch sides to stretch out both of your quads.

Hamstrings

Start by standing with feet together. Scoot your left leg forwards until your left heel is resting on the ground and your toes are pointing in the air. Bend your right knee until you feel like you are about to sit in a chair. Rest your hands on top of your right thigh and lean forward into the stretch. Switch sides.

Heroes Pose

This yoga stretch helps stretch out your upper and lower legs. Start on the ground on your knees, and sit on your lower legs. Gently move your right leg to the right, so your calves are touching the outside of your right thigh. Then repeat on the left. Sit on the ground and take a few deep breaths. If this stretch doesn’t feel like it is stretching you enough lean back and rest on your elbows.

Hip Flexors

Start in a lung position on the ground with your left foot flat on the ground and finding your balance on your right knee. Raise your left arm up above your head while keeping your right arm at your side. Lower your left arm behind you and point diagonally to the ground while moving your head to look at your arm. The right arm should rise up diagonally towards the ceiling. The lower half of your body should not move. Hold this position and then go back to the starting position and switch sides.

Now that your body is stretched out after your bike ride your body should be feeling better, which means a faster recovery time. Continue to stretch after your rides to alleviate the pain and muscle stiffness of staying in the perfect aero position.

Happy Cycling!

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