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Should I Stretch Before Cycling

Jan 24, 2022
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Injuries and muscle imbalances can occur if you are cycling without any proper warm-up and stretching exercises. Thus, it is fair to say that a good stretching routine is always part of the formula for a successful cycling and better cycling performance. It may be tempting to ride away fast after you walk out the door and wear your helmet. But as in every sport, exercise, or any physical activity for that matter, a good warm-up plays an important role in increasing your stamina and endurance. Skipping this part could only heighten muscle sores, tiresome ride, or worse, injuries. And regardless of the intensity or distances, you plan to cover in your cycling activity, there are a few common problem areas that appear such as knee discomfort, back strain, shoulder aches, arm pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Cycling uses repetitive action. If you are doing something wrong over and over again, the discomfort will pop up along the way. So, to maximize the fun and health benefits that cycling offers, practice easy stretching exercises.
When should you stretch?
When your muscles are warm and relaxed, then that is the best time to do your stretching. So when exactly is that? This could be up for debate depending on the cyclist. However, normally, and for more people, the best time is after the 5 or 10-minute warm-up of low-intensity cycling or stationary cycling. And it could also vary depending on the type of cycling activity you opt to do–whether leisurely cycling, competitive cycling, road racing, and the like. Post-ride stretching is as important as warm-up stretching for pre-ride. You should remember that the muscles at work need to cool down properly. The muscles need to be back to their form and your body to restore. And the best way to do that is by performing stretches, and not sitting down right away, which will cause the hardening of the muscles.

4 Simple and Easy Stretches to Follow Before Cycling

1. Lunges
Lunges are always associated with runners. However, cyclists also benefit greatly when performing lunges as they focus on your hamstrings and quads. Here is how to perform lunges: Take a huge step forward with your right leg. Bend it until it is at a 90-degree angle. The left leg is stretched back, without bending it and maintaining it as straight as possible. Now, start stretching by slowly moving your torso in an up and down direction. You should feel a stretch on your right thigh. Do at least 10 of these on each leg. You can also opt to do the lunges in sets of 10, or 20, or 30 for the more experienced cyclists.
2. Squats
Squats are a foolproof exercise for weight-conscious individuals. However, cyclists also benefit a lot from doing squats since this form of exercise is good for the hips, knees, and thighs. It gets to work almost all kinds of muscles and joints in your body. Since squats target the parts of the body that you use the most in cycling, it is especially beneficial for you when cycling for a longer period of time.
3. Leg Swings
Tightness in the hips is a major problem for cyclists. So, it is important to make sure that the hips are flexible enough to avoid serious injuries. To loosen the muscles, a simple hip-flexor stretch will do. Here is how to perform leg swings: Find a wall or bar or even your stationary bicycle to support your weight on one side. Then swing the opposite leg outward and backward. Make sure that your leg and knee are straight and do not bend. Do this exercise at least 10 times on each leg.
4. Jumping Jacks
For the overall body exercise, jumping jacks is a good one as it is known to involve all the muscles of the body. In a single type of exercise, the arms, spine, torso, legs, and feet are at work. Here is how to perform jumping jacks: Stand with your feet together, while resting your arms parallel to your torso. And as you jump, raise your arms up while widening the distance of your feet between your legs simultaneously. Make sure to keep your arms and legs as straight as possible. After each jump, bring your legs and arms to their original position. Then do this at least 10 times more.
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