4 Simple Recovery Stretches For Cyclists
Cycling is a fantastic way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
Brisbane is a city that’s especially popular for cycling — with multiple cycleways and a plenty of stunning views, it’s no wonder so many people enjoy riding. Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a great time of year to get out on your bike — just keep an eye out for the magpies!
In my chiropractic practice, I see many cyclists from both road and mountain biking backgrounds in need of treatment. As such, I thought I’d share some insights into the most common injuries for cyclists and simple recovery stretches you can do to prevent them from occurring.
Hip Flexor Issues
Hip Flexor issues are by far the most common injury I see in cyclists, especially roadies. Your hips flexors are a set of muscles at the top of your thighs that assist you to move your lower body. But if your muscles are too tight or you make a sudden movement, it’s possible to stretch or tear them.
The normal riding position on the bike tends to leave hip flexors either very tight and restricted or overworked and fatigued, or worse a combination of the two. When this happens, you can expect to start getting hip pain, a tight lower back and extreme tightness around the front of the hip and groin.
If this sounds like something you are experiencing, I recommend mixing hip flexor stretching and strengthening exercises using resistance band pulls into your routine.
See these images below for instruction on how to perform a hip flexor stretch and hip flexor activation.
Hip Flexor Stretch
This is a lunge variation that requires you to rest the back foot flat and lean over your front leg with your knee slightly in front of your front foot. Hold the position for 3 seconds for five sets and then repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Activation
With one end of the resistant band wrapped around you ankle, and the other end wrapped around your other foot, pull the band back to around 90º and hold for up to 30 seconds. The band should be tense enough to allow you to hold for no longer than 30 seconds. Once your strength builds and you can do over 30 seconds, use a tougher exercise band.
As cycling is a lower body workout, we don’t often consider that it can cause shoulder and neck tightness but it certainly can. It’s especially prevalent on a road bikes where the body is positioned low over the handlebars.
As a result, I often treat cyclists with very rounded shoulders and complaining of shoulder and neck pain. Many cyclists spend hours hunched over the handlebars, and further time hunched over computers at work which compounds the problem.
The best way to combat this is by stretching out the chest and shoulders when you return from your rides. We’ve discussed this Pec tightness before here too.
A couple of simple and effective stretches to help ease the effects of hunching include:
The Shoulder Reach and Twist
- Interlace your fingers behind the back of your head, with straight arms.
- Gently push your elbows backwards whilst keeping your hands on your lower neck. Keep pushing your stretch you should feel a stretch across your chest between the shoulder blades.
- Hold for ten seconds and repeat three times.
- Step into a doorway and place your forearms on the doorframe. Make sure your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Let the weight of your body fall forward slightly so that you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders.
- Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.
Learn More About Chiropractic For Cyclists
If you are a cyclist, visiting a chiropractor can be a great way to manage ongoing niggles associated with long hours on the bike. It can not only help to prevent hip flexor and shoulder tightness from occurring, but also address any ongoing back pain issues.
Chiropractic adjustments in the lower back, thoracic area and neck can assist with cycling posture and keep you feeling loose and pain-free while riding. I have many cyclists who attend Dynamic Chiropractic for help with injury prevention to keep them enjoying cycling. If you would like any help with cycling injuries or aches and pains, feel free to get in touch today. We would love to help out!