General Cycling Discussion - Importance of stretching
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Is it important to stretch after each ride?
Like stretching the quads/hamstrings/calves/shoulders?
I know for one, my dad who bikes 30km every day, does not stretch, but should we both stretch post-ride?
08-05-10, 01:12 PM
Stretching is for wussies.
08-05-10, 01:22 PM
You should stretch before and after a high-intensity ride. It'll give you better performance during the ride, and reduce any pain from muscle exertion after.
Some people (like me :rolleyes:) never stretch and have no problems during or after a ride.
08-05-10, 04:23 PM
If you have persistent "issues" like a sore back etc. regular stretching can be helpful. It doesn't have to be right before or after a ride, it could be (like for me) every morning (or if I don't stretch in the morning, some other random time during the day).
08-05-10, 05:43 PM
Meh. I've pretty much given up on slow stretching and just stay loose instead. Putting it in a low gear and doing an easy spin on the way back home (or the last five minutes to your car) is good enough.
yeah I don't have any issues - I'll quit the stretching then
regular stretching can be helpful. It doesn't have to be right before or after a ride, it could be (like for me) every morning (or if I don't stretch in the morning, some other random time during the day).
08-05-10, 07:32 PM
It doesn't hurt to stretch after...and if it does, then you're doing it wrong.
08-05-10, 08:04 PM
I dont stretch much, sometimes a few quick pulls on my quads and hammies before a ride... but like mentioned above, I usually do a little bit of stretching first thing in the morning and periodically during the day. no specific regimen, just whatever feels like it needs to be stretched at that moment.
08-06-10, 10:34 AM
I can't remember if there was a newer article, but I found this one while looking around:
If you're talking about the usual static "prop your leg on a park bench and stretch your hamstrings" kind of stretching, that's what I don't do anymore. I also try to not do any of the dynamic types of stretching until after I've warmed up with a few minutes of low-load movement.
A different article regarding flexibility (how deeply an athlete can stretch) and performance:
But stretching before, during, or after a bike ride? Meh. Other exercises are harder on the muscles than biking is; it's the heart n' lungs that work the most on the bike.
08-06-10, 11:00 AM
I never stretch before a ride, occasionally during a ride at a rest stop, and rarely after a ride.
I stop during runs and stretch when things are bugging me and I am currently stretching daily to get rid of a case of plantar fascitis.
I don't like doing static stretches before riding too much - rather just ride slow/warm up, then maybe do some stretches at the first break-point for longer rides.
For shorter rides, I don't really stretch after - but after longer rides I find stretching helps allot, especially if I'm doing back-to-back long rides. I just finished my first multi-day ride, and found I was really sore on the mornings where I didn't do a good job stretching the day before.
08-06-10, 11:11 AM
I stretch before and after rides and randomly during the day. I just think it feels good
08-06-10, 04:16 PM
I have not kept up with cutting-edge exercise physiology... However as far as I know the standard thinking is that one should stretch after warming up, never "cold".
Also, stretching after an intense workout may help remove lactic acid buildup (much like massage) and may help with post-ride stiffness.
Cycling does not involve violent extensions of the joints or sudden hard efforts from a dead stop. Usually, we "warm up" by riding easily and then start working harder.
Bicycling magazine did an article on on-the-bike stretches used by pro road racers when they start to feel stiff or crampy after long miles... Here's a video showing some but I warn you, you have to watch a commercial first...
I tend to stretch post-ride. I do at least 30 seconds of quad stretches per side and calf stretches the same. (standing on the edge of a stair works great)
This seems to help with post-ride stiffness; I frequently ride my patrol bike for several hours and then climb into the patrol car... Get's kind of cramped.
08-06-10, 04:34 PM
I was once told it's a good idea for a cyclist to stretch the calf/achilles tendon as this particular area tends to get shortened or tight in long term cyclists.
Anyone confirm this?
08-06-10, 04:45 PM
I don't bother stretching and never seem to have the problems it's supposed to avoid.
thanks for the fantastic input guys!!
08-07-10, 01:41 PM
ive been stretching quite a bit after my rides. not so much before
i stretch my back and neck mostly.
08-09-10, 10:51 PM
dependz why you're stretchin
cycling has a very limited range of motion for the muscles used. and it tends to tighten up areas like the hips, shorten muscles like the hammies and, dependin on posture, cause stress to the traps, scalenes and other muscles of the upper back and neck. And for many, the lower back proves problematic also.
If you do other things besides cycling, then enchancing flexibilty improves doing those other things, flexibility also reduces the risk of injury.
flexibility becomes a huge thing as we age. not a problem yet? it will be...
is stretching part of a flexibility program? then yes, its a good thing.
don;t just think about 'stretching'. think about a comprehensive flexibility program (which would be directly tied to an overall core strengthening and balancing program).
Stretching is an essential part of your fitness regime, but sadly, there is so much confusion as to when it should be done, the benefits and for how long.
In short, EVERYBODY should stretch after a ride. Not only does it prevent further injury, it aids in speed of recovery, development of strength and suppleness of the muscle and problems later on in life. Yes, you may feel it provides no benefit, but are you doing it properly? For the right amount of time? Do you want to be able to ride for a long time without future issues?? Do you want to be able to develop better strength and speed in your muscles??
Before a ride - dynamic stretching. That is, just a light walk, jog, light ride or light ride on a home trainer. No cold stretches and holds.
Post-ride- 20-30 second strecth and hold (static stretching) for your lower back, traps, glutes, calfs, hamstrings and quads.
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