Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Whether we are cycling or biking outdoors, we often get excited to hop on the bike to later find ourselves in often familiar situation of experiencing sore and strained muscles after riding. Like most, we forget the most important and basic step before riding: stretching.
Does this sound like you too?
We don't want you to overstretch, which can also lead to injury, but rather we recommend a light warm up followed by dynamic stretching (stretching with movement) to wake up your body and the muscles you will use. While we're not officially certified to give professional training advice, our friends from Live Strong have come up with some dynamic stretches that you might find helpful. In fact we compiled a quick list of some of them that we've highlighted below. As experienced cyclists, this warm up is what we rely on to help reduce our chances of injuring our bodies during or after the ride. Trust us when we say that your body will thank you later.
Ready to get started?
Warm Up Your Body
Before you hop on the stationary or go for a whirl outdoors, it's a good idea to first do some pre-biking warm-ups. Ultimately we want you to stay injury free as much as possible. Combining a 5 minute light spin on the bike followed by dynamic stretching will help accomplish this goal.
This stretch helps with your quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings. In other words, everything we need as cyclists.
1. With feet at shoulder length apart, bend forward to a downward dog position. Starting this way prevents strain on the lower back.
2. Step forward with your right leg, and make sure you keep your right knee at a 90 degree position.
3. Make sure the left leg is straight behind you and your feet are on the floor.
4. Keep your hands planted on the ground next to your front right foot.
5. Slowly raise your torso to create a 90 degree angle with your front right leg and raise your hands above your hands to stretch.
6. Repeat 4-8 times before alternative legs.
Dynamic backward runner's lunge
The name says it all, and keeps the benefit of the Runner's lunge, except it's more friendly on the body.
1. Stand with feet at shoulder width apart and hands at side.
2. Step back with right foot about one and a half stride length behind you landing with the ball of the foot on the ground and heel up.
3. Lower the back of the left leg straight and place flat of the foot at a 90 degree angle.
4. Slightly pulse the right straightened foot 5-10 times.
5. Push through the heel to return to standing position, before alternating with the left foot.
Having a dynamic stretch to mimic the movements of an actual bike ride can only help warm up those specific muscles.
1. Stand in place and lift one knee up at a time.
2. Alternate each leg and continue for 30 - 60 seconds.
Dynamic Overhead Tricep Stretch
You'd be surprise how good these stretches feel, especially since you'd be surprised how much upper body muscles you use. Specifically these stretches help with your back and upper arms that you rely on during these rides.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
2. Remember to keep your shoulders down.
3. Lift your right arm next to your head, placing the fingers of your right hand behind your head so they touch your upper back between shoulder blades.
4. Place left arm over the top of your head and left hand on top of your right elbow to gently support your right arm during the stretch.
4. Hold while pulsing for 15 sec, then release, repeat on the left side.
Don't forget your hands
When you're on those bike rides you don't realize how much you're using your hands. Whether it's from holding the handle bars to changing gears, your wrists and hands can cramp up. Feel free to use these stretches even mid-ride.
Show your feet some love
Your feet are like your tires that keep you going. Not to mention, focusing on your feet reduces strained calf muscles and even shins.
Try standing feet together for balance gently curl forward your right foot to gently stretch your plantar fascia and hold for 5 seconds. Next try the same move with your left. Repeat 2-3 each foot, or as many times you feel you're ready to hop on the bike.
Now that you're done with this warm up, time to hit the road. We wish you the safest of travels from now until the next time!
DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. You are encouraged to consult with your doctor with regard to this information contained on or through this website. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider.