Whether it be beginner, intermediate, advanced cyclist; cycling for your commute or taking on hills at the weekend - taking care of your body after a ride is the most important lesson many cyclists are never taught. Cycling can be deceptively tiring - your legs may feel tired, but it is rare to finish a cycle feeling stiff, leading many cyclists to not stretch and risk pain, and even possible injury.
Stretching is the ideal aftercare activity for cycling, as it allows your muscles a well deserved chance to breathe after hours of extreme pressure. In this article, I’ll be going over the best things to do after a bike ride, to ensure that your body is always in the best possible condition for the next one.
Take Care of Your Muscles- Use a Foam Roller
A foam roller can do wonders for your body at the end of a cycle . To use a foam roller, place it on the ground and drag a given part of your body over the roller. The foam roller acts a destressor for your muscle, which loosens otherwise tight muscles and allows you to feel much more relaxed. While this is not a stretch, a foam roller is a great option to minimise injury risk and help your muscles feel better.
Stretch- Your Body Will Thank You!
The simple toe-touch.
- From standing hinge at your hips taking your hands towards the ground. Bend your knees as much as you need to get your fingertips or palms to the floor. Allow your stomach to come towards the thighs and let your neck stay long, looking between your legs.
- As your hamstrings loosen, you may want to gradually straighten your legs if this feels OK. Keep your back lengthened rather than rounding your spine. You should feel tightness in the back of your legs but not pain. This stretch best loosens up the hamstrings, while also helping improve posture, balance, and even core strength, which are all great attributes to have while cycling.
The Flamingo Stretch
This stretch will cause you to feel the burn after a bike ride. 1. stand up straight, grab your left foot with your left hand and gently pull your foot towards your bum. Using your right hand to balance if you need.,
This is a great stretch for your quads, which may be the part of your body in the most dire need of a stretch following a ride.
- Keep your knees aligned and ensure you are not leaning too far forward or backward. Be careful not to hyperextend the standing knee, and take a microbend in the knee if you feel you are locking your joint out.
- Do this on both legs for 30-60 seconds each and your quads should feel much more relaxed afterwards. Repeat if you feel you need it.
This stretch is the biggest recommendation I have for cyclists after a ride, as it helps out the part of your body that most needs a stretch, while also improving balance.
The Back Extension Stretch
1. Lay flat on your stomach, and pressing your palms into the floor, push your torso up. Keep lifting your chest and move your shoulders away from your ears. If you like, lift your thighs off the ground. This stretch lowers the risk of back problems and improves posture, both essential qualities for cyclists to have.
2. Protect your neck by keeping your gaze to the front, rather than bending your neck backwards to look up.
Aftercare for cyclists is nearly as important as the ride itself. In comparison to a car, on a bike, you act as the motor, the engine, and the exhaust; so just as you would take care of your car after a drive, it is important to take care of yourself after a ride. As we talked about in this article, the best ways to do so are stretches targeting the parts of your body affected most by a ride- your legs, quads, and your back. These stretches improve flexibility, make your body feel better, and make you an overall better cyclist. If performed correctly, these stretches are a near guarantee that your next ride will feel better than the last one!