9 Best Stretches to Prevent Injury in Cyclists and Triathletes
The repetitive movement involved in swimming, running and cycling tightens and shortens muscles on the front of the body. Add in the stress that running and cycling puts on the hips, glutes and hamstrings and you could be suffering from some serious pain that could result in injury.
BEST FRONT BODY OPENERS
UPWARD FACING DOG: This stretch opens up your chest, neck, hip flexors, and psoas after being hunched over on the bike.
BOW POSE: You will really feel this stretch through the shoulders and down the front of your body.
BRIDGE: Lie down, place your feet under your knees and lift your hips. If you can’t clasp your hands together, hold onto a strap. This pose can be taken one step further, into a full backbend, or WHEEL, to release tension of being hunched over while swimming and cycling.
LOW LUNGE QUAD STRETCH: From a low lunge position, grab your back foot with the opposite hand. From here, you can move into a SIDE STRETCH by dropping your hand of your front leg to the side of your body and reaching the opposite arm over to that side. This will work on your balance and open up that side body.
BACK BODY RELEASE
DOWNWARD FACING DOG: The backs of your legs, calves and the bottoms of your feet will benefit from this position. These areas are under a lot of stress while running and cycling.
SHOELACE POSE: Wrap one leg over the other so your knees are stacked in front of you. Your feet should be as close to your hips as possible. Stay here, or lean forward until you feel a stretch from your hips through your IT band and hamstrings.
HALF PIGEON: Start in Downward facing dog. Send one leg up, bring that knee to the same side wrist. Bring your back foot as far back as possible, front foot as far forward as possible. Sit your hip/butt on a towel if your hip is high off the ground. Spend a minute with one face cheek to the ground; spend another minute with the other face cheek on the ground to stretch out your neck. This pose can also be done on your back. Place your right ankle on top of your left knee and pull your left thigh toward your chest. IT band, hips, hamstrings, neck… this pose stretches it all.
BONUS: ARM AND CORE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
Cycling doesn’t always help build arm and core strength, so it is extremely important to work on these parts of the body as part of your training routine. Strong arms and core mean more support for your shoulders, better body position and handling on the bike.
FOREARM PLANK: Strengthens midsection and simulates time trial position when using aero bars.
SIDE PLANK: Strengthens all the muscles that support your shoulders and obliques for twisting motion in swimming.
PUSH UPS: Instead of performing regular pushups with your elbows out to the side, bring your elbows in to your side with your hands pointing forward. Lower yourself down until your elbow is in line with your body and push up.
If you practice these stretching techniques a few times a week, you will be on your way to becoming a stronger, more well-balanced athlete. Try these stretches at home and share them with us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM!