Stretching is one of those subjects that divides the cycling community. Some cyclists love stretching, others hate it.
Some people can exercise their whole life without stretching and remain injury-free. Others find they can’t string together two weeks of uninterrupted training unless they stretch regularly. The bottom line is that you have to find what works best for your body.
If you’re ramping up your training for the Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle and pushing your distances and speed more than usual? Then you should be considering some form of body maintenance…Particularly if you are over 40. If you’re spending extended periods of time sitting down at work, while cycling, travelling or lazing on the sofa then your body will begin to adapt to that position, and you will gradually become stiffer in your hips, lower back, ankles and knees.
There is not one solution that fits all, but in general, making body maintenance a part of your training routine, will improve your flexibility and highly reduce your chances of injuries occurring. It might be stretching, it might be foam rolling, yoga, or pilates. The key to success is consistency.
If you rely on a single yoga or pilates class each week to satisfy all of your stretching requirements, chances are that you will be stiff again by lunch time the next day after sitting in your chair at work for three to four hours and you will not be getting the best possible results for your body. Make sure you top up the class with some other regular body maintenance work. Think of it like this: If you wanted to ride 200km in a week, would you do the whole lot in one go, then rest for the next 6 days to let your body recover?
It would be easier on your body, and more beneficial, to commute to and from work each day and spread the 200km’s over 10 rides. Your body would also then cope with an additional longer weekend ride, giving you the option of adding extra km’s if you feel like it.
Think of your body maintenance routine as reversing the effects of sitting down all day rather than reversing the effects of cycling. The truth is that it will be helping with both, but a lot of people make the mistake of stopping their stretching/rolling routines when they are not training hard.
If, for example, your training reduces because you have a very busy week of work and there isn’t enough time to ride, then in our opinion you should stretch/roll more rather than less to try and keep your body supple after all of that sitting time.
If you are looking for some specific body maintenance exercises for cyclists, check out the eight week Spring Cycle training plan here. It includes a daily training plan and body maintenance program, specifically designed for Spring Cycle participants.
The Body Mechanic in Sydney specialise in treating cycling related injuries and improving your position on the bike with their bike fitting service. They have helped thousands of cyclists over the past 10 years to improve their technique and reduce their injuries. For a cracking Spring Cycle, pop in and see these guys. Find out more or make a booking at firstname.lastname@example.org.