I teach several serious cyclists in my classes. They spend the weekend cycling alone or with a group. They travel overseas to experience new territory, under their own steam, on a bike. They love the speed of the ride, the challenge of the kilometres and the topography and they love traversing the country, and sometimes the globe, without the noise of an engine or the intersession of organized transport and its limitations. But long periods on a bike, although beneficial for cardio-respiratory health and muscular strength and resilience, also lead to stiffness, pain and injury. So although these students would rather be on the bike rather than on the yoga mat, they come so that they can cycle pain free long into the future, as well as experiencing many other benefits when supplementing their cycling with yoga.
Visit our yoga for cyclists page to read more about the many benefits to be gained from practicing yoga. To get you started, below are 4 easy stretching exercises for cyclists:
4 essential poses for cyclists
- Breathe deeply through the nose
- Listen to your body
Half dog pose: Props: Wall, tree
- Stand facing the tree or wall.
- Place the hands at the height of the waist shoulder width
- Step back so that the spine is straight and parallel to the floor and the legs are straight.
- If the shoulders are tight take the hands wider.
- If the hamstrings are tight take the feet wider and the hands higher.
- Hold for 10 breaths.
Benefits: lengthens all the muscles at the back of the body: hamstrings, buttocks, shoulders, elbows, back muscles.
Upward dog pose: Props: Chair, wall
- Place the chair seat firmly against the wall.
- Hold the back of the chair rest.
- Curl the shoulders back, lift the chest
- Press the buttocks forwards.
- Keep the knees straight.
Leg stretches for cyclists
Leg stretch 1: Props: Belt
- Lie on your back with the legs straight and the feet against the wall.
- Bend the right knee into the chest.
- Place the belt around the foot.
- Raise the leg to the vertical (or less than vertical if your hamstrings are tight) with the knees straight.
- Hold for 1 minute.
- Repeat to the left side.
Leg stretch 2:
- From leg stretch 1 take the right leg out to the right towards the right shoulder.
- You can rest the thigh on a cushion or a block.
- Anchor the left foot against the wall as you lower the right leg out.
- Hold for 1 minute
- Repeat to the left side