Stretch for Success
Cycling specific flexibility can increase performance.
Hard training can give you well muscled cycling legs, but will also lead to tightness and inflexibility unless you incorporate regular stretching into your routine. The off-season is an excellent time to start working on these exercises so you will be ready for the early season.
Contracted muscles can cause a gradual loss of muscle elasticity as well as an overall decline in flexibility of your joints - both of which can lessen your range of motion and pedal power. Stretching may increase the flexibility of the joint up to 10-20%. Flexible muscle groups have increased strength, therefore increasing pedaling power. Poor flexibility also makes you more prone to strains and pulls. Incorporating a regular 10-15 minute stretching program will help you become more adaptable and will prevent injuries.
Stretch your major muscle groups to increase your core flexibility. Stretch slow and gently, holding for 15-20 seconds. Avoid bouncing or jerking when stretching that may cause micro tears in the muscle and actually reduce your overall flexibility.
Major muscle groups use in cycling include: shoulder, back, hips, hamstring, quadriceps, and the calves. The following are just a few cycling specific stretches that will increase your overall flexibility and should make for better riding.
Increasing flexibility is an easy way to increase your performance and reduce your likelihood of injuries. 10-15 minutes of stretching regular will make you more flexible, increase your range of motion and pedal power.
Chad Asplund, MD
Chad Asplund, MD
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Dr. Asplund is a family physician and avid competitive cyclist who treats sports related injuries in the Washington, DC area. Send your cycling injury and health-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Asplund will answer selected questions in future articles.