8 Stretches to Improve Your Cycling Posture

When you love your bike you’re on it a lot, so your cycling posture is important if you want to stay on it. Even though the road moves swiftly beneath you your body is pretty much in that fixed bent position for most of the time.

What that means is most of your upper body doesn’t get the motion and blood circulation it really needs to be strong and flexible.

In a previous post we listed the benefits of yoga for cycling and gave you some great yoga stretches you can do after a ride to reverse that bike posture, improve your position on the bike and avoid serious injury before it happens.

Today we are going to look at some great warm up and loosening exercises you can do that specifically target your cycling soft muscle needs. Mostly these exercises cover the parts of your body that don’t get to move on the bike, giving them the shake up, toxin flush and hydration they need for fast healing and comfort.

If you are an avid cyclist looking to get really amazing benefits practice these exercises three to four days a week. They should take you about 15 minutes to complete and in return they combat cycling aliments like rounded shoulders, lower back strain, and chest tightness, and improve your overall flexibility and fitness.

These exercises do require props so have on hand:

  • An exercise or yoga mat
  • Tennis ball (or massage ball)
  • Foam massage roller
  • Towel (or band or skipping rope)

Mat exercises

1. Lower Back

Lay flat on your back with both feet on the floor and one knee bent at 90-degrees. Take the opposite foot and rest it over your bent knee with your ankle or calf resting on top of the knee. Gently rotate the bent knee across your body towards the floor so the bent knee sits completely under the elevated one. See if you can lay the bent knee flat on the floor comfortably. Make sure your shoulder blades stay down on the floor for this exercise.

Hold this position for 30 second to two minutes then repeat on the other side.

2. Hamstring

This simple hamstring stretch should only go as far as you are comfortable. Flexible people will be able to hold their toes with their hand, if your muscles are shorter or tighter you will need to grab something to assist you. It can be a towel, band or rope.

Lay on your back and bend one knee, from the bend slowly elevate your leg as much as you can to an upright position. Even if you are very flexible you want to keep a slight bend in the knee as you stretch your foot towards your head.

If you can’t reach your toes wrap an assistance grip over the front of your foot to increase stability to hold steady.

Take your time moving the leg up and enjoy the stretch. Hold for two seconds at the farthest point and slowly return to the floor. Repeat four to eight times. Swap to the other leg and do the same number of reps of the other side.

3. Psoas (flexor)

This lower lunge hold is great for this main flexor muscle.

From a standing position lunge forward with your right leg. Rest your left shin and top of the left foot on the floor. At the same time contract your right hamstring and glute muscles. Make sure you keep your core tight and chest high.

Hold this position for two seconds before swapping to the other leg. Complete four to eight reps each side. 

Foam Roller Exercises

4. Quads

Lay face down on your mat and place a foam roller under your upper leg. Tuck the other leg out to the side with knee and toes on the floor.

Place your hands underneath you with elbows out and forearms pressed to the floor or mat.

Keep your back straight and use your arms to roll yourself forward and back over the roller concentrating on the quadriceps muscles. Allow the movement to cover from the top of your straight leg to just above the knee.

Continue rolling for 30 seconds to two minutes before swapping to the other side.

Tennis ball exercises

5. Thoracic Area

Lay on the floor face up with either a foam roller or tennis ball under your back. Place both feet flat on the floor with bent knees. Raise your hips off the floor and roll back and forth in any direction over your shoulder blades. Enjoying the pressure point massage.

Complete 30 seconds to two minutes on each side.

6. Chest

In a sitting position hold a tennis ball to your chest, between the center of your chest and your armpit. Apply pressure from your hand as you move the ball in circular and linear motions over your pectoral muscles. Concentrate on any tender areas, these are indicators of congestion.

Complete 30 seconds to two minutes on each side.

As always know your own limits and stop when you need to. Flexibility brings better movement and more enjoyment on the bike. That’s freedom!

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