Ride Better with Yoga
For cyclists, a few basic yoga poses can go a long way in “un-doing” some of the tightness that creeps up in the body after a long ride. Riding is notorious for creating stiff quadriceps, hamstrings and hips. The shoulders and neck also take quite a beating over time from leaning towards the handlebars and looking up to see the road.
The good news is that just a few minutes of stretching can provide worlds of relief for these common cycling aches and pains.
After your next ride, try these five simple stretches to alleviate tightness, maintain great posture and bring your body back into optimal alignment.
Mountain Pose Variation
Stand tall with feet hip distance apart. Interlace your hands behind your back and stretch your arms behind you. Draw the head of your armbones back and move your shoulder blades flat onto your back. Make your legs steady as you lift your heart and chest open.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold Variation
Take a wide stance and interlace your hands behind your back. As you exhale, firm your leg muscles and fold forward between your legs, keeping your hands interlaced and arms active. Hug your shoulder blades towards each other and use your exhale to extended your arms further overhead.
Sit on the edge of a blanket between your shins with the tops of your feet on the floor. If you feel any strain in your knees, elevate your seat higher with additional blankets. Draw your shoulder blades onto your back to open your chest. Sit in Hero’s Pose for several minutes and focus on steady, deep breathing. This will open the quadriceps.
Sphinx Pose Variation
Lay on your belly with both legs extended on the floor. Prop yourself up onto your forearms so that your elbows are stacked directly under your shoulders. Bend your left knee and reach back to hold the inside of the left foot and draw it towards your outer left hip. Scoop your tailbone under to feel an increase in the stretch. Repeat on the right side.
Pigeon Pose Variation
From all 4’s, bring your right knee forward and point it toward the right hand corner of your yoga mat (or at a 45 degree angle) and point the foot. Place your hands by your hips to sit up tall. Bend your left knee and reach back to hold the inside of the left foot and draw it towards your outer left hip. Scoop your tailbone under to feel an increase in the stretch. Hug your inner thighs in towards each other to help you stay lifted and to avoid leaning onto your right side. Repeat on the right side.