As a cyclist, it’s vital to spend time improving mobility off the bike to hugely benefit your performance on the bike! Regular mobility work is even more essential if you are currently suffering with niggles when you cycle.
So, take 10 minutes after your ride or during your week and try out some of these mobility exercises to help ease your joints towards more efficient cycling movement.
The Upper back
The upper back (thoracic spine) and the large muscles which attach onto the shoulders, can become short and tight due to the repetitive cycling position. Over time, this can lead to stiffness in the upper back, placing greater strain through other areas of the body such as the neck, low back and hips, causing discomfort when you ride. Maintain your range of motion by trying the stretch below:
Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.
Cycling for hours can often leave us fatigued, resulting in increased tension at the shoulders, reducing chest expansion and air entry into the base of the lungs. This can lead to less efficient oxygen exchange and use of energy. To help maintain your ability to get that oxygen in when you need it most, try the exercise below, focusing on relaxing into the position to allow the belly to fully expand as you breathe:
Hold this position for 5 deep breaths. Repeat 2-3 times.
The hamstrings and hips can become very tight with lots of miles on a bike. Over time, the shortening of the hamstrings pull the pelvis into a more tipped back position, preventing you from being able to lean forwards easily and placing greater strain on the lower back and neck. Regular stretches, especially after cycling can help maintain your range of movement and reduce any risk of back pain. Being stronger and more mobile through the hamstrings also helps you to chase that aerodynamic position for greater efficiency!
Flow forwards and backwards between these two positions 5-10 times on each side. Be sure not to hold your breath or strain into either position.
Rotation of the spine can help to release any tension in the spine and hips after a long ride as well as helping to maintain that all important movement to allow you to check behind you easily while out on the road.
Repeat 5-10 times on each side moving slowly and being sure to rotate from the waist.
Hips and glutes
As we live in an incredible area for hills, the powerhouse of the hip, the gluteal muscles, get a lot of work when climbing. Tension and tightness around the hips and glutes reduces your ability to drive power through your pedal, forcing you to strain other areas of your body including the low back, claves and shoulders. Open up your hips using these two variations:
Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-4 times on each side.