Stretching is crucial for cyclists and must be done before and after each ride, no matter how long you’ve sat on the bike or how hard you’ve cycled.
How many of us finish cycling and hop in the shower right away? How many hop on the bike and start pedaling without having stretched first?
Stretching prevents muscle damage, gets your muscles activated before rolling and helps relaxing and recovering after having ridden.
Main aim of stretching
As mentioned above, stretching can be done before and after cycling. Their main goal is to gain flexibility in order the your posture on the bike is as good as possible, as well as activating muscle fibers before the ride and improving blood circulation in order to reduce muscle fatigue once you’ll hop off the bike. Moreover, stretching eases muscle oxygenation, which helps them recover faster and more efficiently and helps prevent muscle damage.
Keep reading to find why stretching is crucial both before and after working out or riding.
Stretching before cycling
Before you hop on the bike your body tends to be cold and your muscles are rigid and not ready to start making any big effort. This is why stretching is so important, especially for the lower body, as they will be the muscles that will be working during the whole ride. It’s advisable to stretch each muscle for 15–30 seconds. The aim of doing so is to gradually warm up your body and activate muscle fibers, so that they can work properly once you’re on the bike.
Stretching must thus be dynamic, with soft, controlled movements in order that muscle fibers start working and getting more and more flexible. The main aim of this warmup is to dilate muscles and get it ready for the physical activity that’s to come.
Focus especially on your lower body muscles, which are the ones that will be used more intensely, from your hips to your feet.
Stretching after cycling
The main aim of after-ride stretching is to relax muscles after all the tension they have endured during the ride. Stretching helps muscle fibers relax, boosts blood circulation and helps your muscles get more oxygen. This static stretching session must last as long as the warmup ones, that is between 15–30 seconds for each muscle.
Now stretching must be static, done until you reach your maximal muscle tension. Reach that point and keep your position for 15–30 seconds. Your muscles will relax properly after a ride and you’ll feel good and relieved.
Benefits of stretching
Stretching has a lot of benefits and works for any sport. Generally speaking, it
- Boosts muscle oxygenation and bloodflow.
- Prevents muscle hurt.
- Improves flexibility, a very important factor, as it will help you adopt the most comfortable position on the bike.
- Relaxes your muscles.
- Improves the range of motion on your joints, increasing mobility.
- Allows for a faster and more effective muscle recovery.
- Prevents muscle overload and contractures.
- Makes you feel good.
- Improves your posture.
- Helps control and reduce stress thanks to the muscles’ relaxing.
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