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Importance of stretching routine for cycling.

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Importance of stretching routine for cycling.

Old 11-20-16, 02:58 PM
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Importance of stretching routine for cycling.

If you think about it cycling is a "two trick pony" you get cardio and leg strengthening and thats it. And your in a fixed position for extended periods of time. I am thinking I want to balance things out here, (swimming BTW is probably good for cyclists). But foundation for being able to continue to do the activities that we like may be with a Yoga practice.

Even though I am actually quite familiar with the benefits of a stretching routine or Yoga Asanas if you will. I have struggled for years maintaining a consistent practice. Right now I feel pretty crappy, tight and a little "creaky' here and there. I still am still riding ( have to for commuting), but I can't really push it, and know I am setting myself up for an injury if I don't figure out how to maintain a stretching routine.

So I plan to start slowly but consistently with the hopes of reaching and maintaining a certain level of flexibility. So I can not only cycle, but do everything else I want or need to do that requires range of motion and flexibility. I find that when I get into a Yoga Asana practice, that you have to honor where your body is at on any given day. (You can actually injure yourself doing Yoga as well). Your body has to warm up before you can get into certain poses. So consistency here is key, don't push it but do a little stretching everyday.

I like to start things off with Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara This is good basic all over general series and that be done slowly and holding Down Dog, or more moderately paced and then you can get a little cardio going


I usually would do some standing poses for 10 more minutes and then move practice to the floor for 20min ( I have a custom routine that works for me that I vary some here and there.) Everybody has different bodies, but I know what areas I need to get into. It just takes time and you can't rush it. I would like to see if I can do a practice for 6 months and then get into some deeper poses. The hips are specifically difficult to address. I have tight hips, especially on left side and would like to avoid hip operation 10 years from now. Thing is you have to be careful of knees also with tight hips, because it's all connected.

Pilates type of Core work is also important here, strengthening that area to prevent any funny back stuff from happening. I like some weight training and good ole push-ups sit-ups and pull-ups. I am pretty weak in upper body as a cyclist.


So I will let you know how it goes and was just wondering if other guys feel like stretching Yoga is important for their cycling routine?
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Old 11-20-16, 03:08 PM
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I think that you are really on to something. I know that my quads and hamstrings have become really tight because I have not consistently stretched over the last decade. The only stretch I consistently do is the Cobra, along with weighted leg lifts for my core.

The trick for me is actually affording time to do this; at 67, I have a pretty demanding job, and that is confounded by my incorrect assumption that I am still fit and young. And pretty lazy.
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Old 11-20-16, 03:10 PM
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If you can do that, you don't need to stretch!

But there is a lot of recent research casting serious doubt on the benefits of stretching prior to riding, ranging from actual decreased power to no reduction in injuries. Stretching AFTER exercise may be helpful.
Anecdotally, I used to stretch for about 10 minutes before running, and used to get a knee injury about once a year. I stopped stretching, and have not been hurt enough that I had to stop riding or running since.
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Old 11-20-16, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeWMass
If you can do that, you don't need to stretch!

But there is a lot of recent research casting serious doubt on the benefits of stretching prior to riding, ranging from actual decreased power to no reduction in injuries. Stretching AFTER exercise may be helpful.
Anecdotally, I used to stretch for about 10 minutes before running, and used to get a knee injury about once a year. I stopped stretching, and have not been hurt enough that I had to stop riding or running since.

Everyone has different bodies and some people are more limber than others. Women are particularity limber compared to men.

They say it is best to practice Yoga in the morning, after evacuating your bowels. You may have to warm up a little more slowly since your body has been sleeping and is tighter. Afternoon stretching is ok too. I just feel that morning practice is still better once body warms up.

Personally I feel much better on a ride if I did a stretching routine prior. ( and it doesn't have to be right before either.) I would typically like to rise, be regular, and do my Asana routine, then eat digest then ride. Hydrate before is good also.

I think I saw some Yoga poses for cyclists somewhere awhile ago I will try to post those.

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Old 11-20-16, 04:51 PM
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My PT thinks stretching and foam rolling are both useful before and after a workout - he usually has me do both before and after a session. And it does help - and I should do it on my own with cycling, etc - but again making the time is tough when you need to get 36 hours worth of life into every 24 hour day.
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Old 11-20-16, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyFranky
The trick for me is actually affording time to do this; at 67, I have a pretty demanding job, and that is confounded by my incorrect assumption that I am still fit and young. And pretty lazy.
Afford the time? At 67, your demanding job should be waking up drinking a cup of coffee reading the newspaper and then sitting on the couch scratching private areas watching reruns of Archie Bunker until you decide to get up and go ride the bike for 5 or 6 hours, LOL.

I don't belong in this forum quite yet, but..... I've never been flexible at all. I don't know if you can get more flexible or not from stretching. I've never tried it. Touch my toes? I just tried, the closest I come is still about 1-2 away from even getting my back perpendicular to my legs. If I sit on the floor with my legs stretched straight out, I've never been able to sit upright. Always have to lean back on my hands or elbows. Just can't get my body to stretch to 90 at the waist. Even when I was young playing sports and a lot lighter than I am now, I've never been able to move my body like that.
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Old 11-20-16, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by WolfRyder
So I will let you know how it goes and was just wondering if other guys feel like stretching Yoga is important for their cycling routine?
No, I think it is counter-productive for most sports. Frankly, something like T25 or other HIIT routine is likely to make you an all around better athlete and cyclist, and for cycling specific - squats & core, a good kettlebell routine is a great investment of time - meaning a real ROI.

Around the time the running community started dumping on stretching routines, a fairly good NY Times article discussed a few of the studies: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/0...-stretch/?_r=0
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Old 11-20-16, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit
No, I think it is counter-productive for most sports. Frankly, something like T25 or other HIIT routine is likely to make you an all around better athlete and cyclist, and for cycling specific - squats & core, a good kettlebell routine is a great investment of time - meaning a real ROI.

Around the time the running community started dumping on stretching routines, a fairly good NY Times article discussed a few of the studies: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/0...-stretch/?_r=0
I read the NY Times article and my take is that the studies reference active athletes participating in sports that require strength and power. At this stage of life I don't particularly fit into that demographic having largely had a sedentary lifestyle prior to returning to cycling a few years ago.

Personally I like to stretch each morning, not necessarily before a ride per se. After a ride, particularly a more challenging one, I find it beneficial to stretch the muscles that have tightened.

Just my 2 cents worth, and certainly not representative of any kind of scientific research. Just what works for me.
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Old 11-20-16, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit
No, I think it is counter-productive for most sports. Frankly, something like T25 or other HIIT routine is likely to make you an all around better athlete and cyclist, and for cycling specific - squats & core, a good kettlebell routine is a great investment of time - meaning a real ROI.

Around the time the running community started dumping on stretching routines, a fairly good NY Times article discussed a few of the studies: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/0...-stretch/?_r=0
I really don't think of Stretching/Yoga as being counter productive for strength and power training in a particular sport. Which is basically what that article is trying to say. The article operates on a flawed assumption that an athlete should do a hardcore Yoga/Stretch routine and then right away jump into a strength and power activity, and gauge the results. I should also say that athletes of many types young or old, reach top form with Triad of stretching, strengthening and cardio.

There are different types of stretching/Yoga routines that can be restorative, in between, or Power Yoga based. The power ones are full on workout all onto itself. That one should just plan on performing that activity within it's own time block and thats it work out/Yoga session completed. Don't try to lift weights right afterwards and run, bike 10, 20 miles.

You can also have a supplemental stretching program that works well with your cycling routine. It depends on how intense a Yoga workout I am doing. If I need to get out of the house fast i will do some quickie stretches and just hop on the bike. I prefer however to have a longer Yoga session in the morning upon rising then eat/digest get ready etc. Then you are nice and limbered up and ready to burn off that fuel with Citric acid cycle when riding.

As far as stretching after workout I would prefer to wait and maybe do some poses at nighttime before you retire for evening. There are some asanas that are good at night, different from daytime poses. (I understand though that some athletes like to do cool down stretches after workout)

For the most part though cyclists are notorious for not stretching very much. As you get older, and given that cycling activity is just cardio and leg strengthening, in a fixed position. It makes very good sense to me to work and stretch all other parts of your body to balance things out. The best way to do that is well, (Swimming again comes to mind in addition), but the stretching/Yoga routine and Core work really lays the foundation to be able to continue to do the things we want to as we age.

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Old 11-20-16, 07:15 PM
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https://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow...tdoor-cycling/

https://www.yogajournal.com/article/l...l-in-the-hips/

https://yenyogafitness.com/stretching-for-cyclists/


https://www.outsideonline.com/1899446...poses-cyclists

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Old 11-21-16, 04:02 AM
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If "stretching-yoga" helps to "float your boat," I most certainly will not be the one to wish for rain on your parade. As important as that morning cup of coffee is for many individuals to begin their day, if you feel more complete following your stretching/yoga routine, more power to you and rock on.
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Old 11-21-16, 06:25 AM
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If yoga is a "laying of a foundation" to continue activity in later years, shouldnt you have started this by now?

Me? I stay active. Stretching before riding is something I dont or wont do. Stretching quads and hams before a squat workout and playing softball, yes. Cycling is different for me in that I have never felt a need to stretch before a ride or after a ride. But hey, that's just me.
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Old 11-21-16, 08:15 AM
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Some good thoughts here. At this age flexibility is half the battle.

I'm definately a "stretcher", but as some have pointed out, more so after a ride or workout than before. Stretch when your muscles are warm.
After a ride i do a combination moves similar to the OP and use a foam roller. It just feels good!
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Old 11-21-16, 10:07 AM
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I've found some yoga poses that I can do while on the bicycle - when safe to do so.

Particularly at red lights with a long well known sequence of lights - cat-cow, shoulder rolls and some spinal twists are quick and easy to help out the top half, and some shallow modified triangle poses for the lower half. Since it's practice during stolen moments, ROI approaches infinity.

But other yoga poses are completely inappropriate on the road - Shavasana for example. [insert smiley face]

Finally, completely agree that honoring your body is really important. Mamils in particular can get ourselves in trouble here, with or without lycra.

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Old 11-21-16, 10:18 AM
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I'm sure there's some benefit, but I am inflexible and stretching won't help. As a kid, I couldn't even sit cross-legged ("indian style" in the less enlightened lexicon of my youth), much less assume the lotus position. Years later I discovered that I have hip dysplasia (like a labrador retriever), so it had nothing to do with my muscle stretching - my bones simply don't allow much flexibility.

I don't stretch before or after rides. I haven't noticed any problems that could be related to not stretching. As others have said, if you get some benefit, that's great for you. But I don't think it's for everybody.
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Old 11-21-16, 10:18 AM
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Oh, the other good thing about a proper stretching exercise (really, it's not complicated) after a good, hard workout:: it energizes you, gives you a bit of a boost.
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Old 11-21-16, 10:22 AM
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Unless we've gotten too tight, which does tend to come with age, I disagree that yoga stretching is generally useful for cycling. It can be so beneficial for other reasons though that it may be a moot point.
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Old 11-21-16, 10:49 AM
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Research shows that stretching is not a panacea for preventing injuries. Like everything connected with individual athletes, it's complicated:
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc...=rep1&type=pdf

One thing that does seem for sure is that the stiffest and most flexible individuals are at highest risk for injury. The problem with hyperflexibility is that it stretches out the connective tissue that holds your joints in alignment and thus one is more easily injured. Hyperflexibility also reduces performance. The problem with being too stiff is that one may not be able to achieve the range of joint motion required by your sport without injury. OTOH if you have no problems with your bike position, no problems with knee pain, etc., then you probably don't need to stretch at all.

On the 3rd hand, I've found that ordinary weight training in the gym increases flexibility as well as strength and is the very best thing for prevention of injury and bone loss. I'll stretch during a ride if I start to stiffen up, but I never stretch either before or after a ride.

I once had a bit of bursitis in one knee which was quickly resolved by stretching in the morning after I'd been moving around for a while. Otherwise I've never had any issues with that sort of thing.

Bone loss, BTW, is the one thing that over 50s really have to worry about:

https://www.bikeforums.net/training-n...n-improve.html
5 Things Cyclists Don?t Understand About Strength Training - CTS
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Old 11-21-16, 11:05 AM
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The few times I've ever had a yoga class, it struck me more as strength training, than as preparation for anything. The meditation aspect, and doing everything slowwwly, made it different in character from weight training, but I still had sore muscles afterwards. The meditation was enjoyable. I think that's probably as big a benefit as the effect on your muscles.
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Old 11-21-16, 11:25 AM
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If I were going to stretch before riding, I would concentrate on my back and upper body. My personal observation is that riding, as long as the geometry of the bike is set up correctly, by itself provides enough of a stretch to my legs. The upper body, OTOH, is where I will get pain/discomfort on the bike IF I'm going to get it anywhere - especially my lower back.

So I could see stretching my upper body as potentially beneficial in my case - but again, when the planet slows down enough in it's rotation that we get to those 36 hour days, I'll have time for it - hey, that's only a couple of billion years in the future.
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Old 11-21-16, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by WolfRyder
I really don't think of Stretching/Yoga as being counter productive for strength and power training in a particular sport.
Well, I tend to agree with you, but: I don't know if you have spent time in yoga studios in a course of study, I have some experiences there. I can't say I was much impressed with the physical development of the older participants, like me. "Flabby" is the word that comes to mind; other than yoga I can't imagine the people I saw and interacted with doing much of anything athletic. As said, if it works for you go with it. I found it disappointing, and my running performance suffered noticeably during the time I was attending twice a week classes and practicing at home.

Simply, it's not for everyone.
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Old 11-21-16, 11:55 AM
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I do my yoga in the evening, and it inevitably effects my ride in a positive way the next day. I think the primary benefit (for me) is not-so-much in becoming more flexible, even temporarily, but in flooding the body with an increased supply of oxygen.
If your body, even down to the capillaries, is saturated with oxygen by means of deep breathing (sometimes holding it in for short periods), there will be less subsequent oxygen debt. It is this deep, slow breathing which sets yoga apart from calisthenic stretching.
Crank mentioned the Cobra (or Snake). Try this and see how tight your thoracic diaphragm is. Remember to hold your breath when you come up. Release and descend when your intuition tells you to.
Another important exercise for oxygen supply is Kung Fu stance work. In chinese martial arts, there are eight basic stances. All have a right and left variant except for Wu Wei or "Horse Stance". This isometric, static exercise dramatically dialates the circulatory system in the lower body. Try Bow and Arrow stance and see how tight your hip flexors are.
Philosophically and spiritually, Yoga is a good Yin compliment to the relatively Yang activity of cycling.
Again, I do my routine at night to some soothing music. This takes about one hour and includes 13 different yoga postures plus stance work and other Chinese stretches. If I did all this right before my ride, I'd be too tired to ride. Never-the-less, the oxygen enhancement is both a pleasurable sensory experience and an immediate performance boost.
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Old 11-21-16, 12:20 PM
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The whole stretching before running thing seems to be a poorly supported idea that doesn't translate well to cycling anyway.
Also, yoga is much more than just stretching. For me, I find doing a yoga (or stretching) routine either first thing in the morning, or just before bedtime works very well. I never feel the need to stretch before or during any sort of physical activity, and my flexibility is great.

I've been following Yoga with Abi on Pinkbike for the past year or so - there are about a dozen videos now.
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Old 11-21-16, 12:38 PM
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I stretch each morning, even before getting out of bed, and often during the day also. If I don't, the body feels too tight. Basically, stretching feels good but I like be be as limber as possible. Some of the yoga positions are good for core strength.
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Old 11-21-16, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mercator
The whole stretching before running thing seems to be a poorly supported idea that doesn't translate well to cycling anyway.
Also, yoga is much more than just stretching. For me, I find doing a yoga (or stretching) routine either first thing in the morning, or just before bedtime works very well. I never feel the need to stretch before or during any sort of physical activity, and my flexibility is great.

I've been following Yoga with Abi on Pinkbike for the past year or so - there are about a dozen videos now.
I agree, just need to get a little more consistent in my case and that routine works quite well.
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