The number of my friends and clients who are wrapped in lycra and spending hours each week on their road bikes is increasing dramatically. Whether they’re riding for recreation, or training for charity rides or the very popular Fondos, the hours these people spend on the bike take a toll on the body, and it’s important to know how to stretch to maintain good physical health.
Fortunately there are many excellent bike shops doing a good job of fitting these riders with bikes that are properly adjusted for their bodies. However, even with the best bike fit, the cycling position is one of flexion and sustained repetitions of controlled movement. Just consider the activity of the hip joint during a long ride. The fixed range of motion, and thousands of repetitions, can result in tightness of muscles like the hip flexors and hamstrings.
When these muscles get shortened and tight from these activities, they can affect an individual’s posture and movement, even when they’re not on the bike, and can contribute to chronic pain and injury. With a simple structural maintenance plan to manage these muscles and balance the alignment of the body, it’s possible to enjoy favorite activities like cycling without suffering the consequences.
For the cyclists that I work with to improve performance and prevent injury, my goal is to balance their flexibility to permit a more neutral pelvis and spine when they ride. This reduces stress and allows for improved stability and power production.