article by Shayne Gaffney
We all know that cycling is great for a myriad of things, but the bike keeps your body in a fixed position, sometimes for hours on end. This can wreak havoc on the neck, middle back, hips, and lower extremity muscles, causing them to become shortened, painful, and lose their ability to produce power.
This, of course, is unacceptable and the exact opposite effect we want after spending time training outdoors, or in the pain cave! So, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes stretching your legs out after you beat them up—your body will thank you, and it will give you some precious time to think about life (i.e. more cycling) for a while.
The following stretching routine is designed for athletes who are time-crunched and need to really maximize any time dedicated to their fitness.
Set up in front of a couch/chair/bench, with one foot on the couch and the other knee on the floor in a half kneeling position. From here, bring your hips forward and lean your body backward until you feel a comfortable stretch in the front of your hip as well as the thigh. Repeat on the other side.
Bring your feet wider than shoulder width apart and lace your fingers behind your back. Then, lean your body forward and reach your arms backward until a comfortable stretch is felt in the hamstrings, as well as chest/front of the shoulders.
From a sitting position, bend your knees, place your feet together, and let your legs fall out to the side until a comfortable stretch is felt in your inner thighs. While holding this position, lace your fingers together, bring your arms up, then reach forward trying to open your shoulder blades, and drop your head down until a comfortable stretch is felt in between the shoulder blades and the back of your neck.
Start off in a quadruped position. From here, thread one leg under you, then sit back until a deep, but comfortable, stretch is felt in the glutes. Repeat on the other side.
Shayne Gaffney holds a bachelors degree in Health Science in Professional Development and Advanced Patient Care, is a USA Cycling Level 1 (expert level) Certified Coach, a level 2 certified TrainingPeaks coach, a USA Cycling certified power based training coach, USA Olympic Committee Safe Sport Certified, and a licensed physical therapist assistant. He is also the creator of Zwift’s “Build Me Up” Flexible Training Plan. He can be contacted directly via firstname.lastname@example.org for any cycling or training related questions.
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