Whether you’re riding your road bike to work, are training for a triathlon or hitting the mountain bike trails, proper warm-ups and stretches prevent injury and improve your performance and stamina wherever your two wheels take you.
It’s vital to stretch and target the primary muscle groups used during biking before you take your seat — including the glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders and quadriceps.
Try adding the five yoga poses detailed below to your routine and let us know how they influence your riding.
Cat-Cows will warm-up the muscles surrounding your spine and help bring flexibility to your glutes as you’re hunched over on your bike.
To begin, come to all fours with your knees stacked under your ankles and your hands pressed under your shoulders. Inhale, gaze up and lift your tailbone toward the sky, as you widen through your chest. Exhale, tuck and round, chin to chest, as you tuck your pelvis.
*Repeat for 30 seconds–1 minute.
High Lunge will light-up your quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
Begin in a low lunge with your right ankle aligned under your right knee with your legs hip-width distance apart. Engage through left leg. Engage your core as you begin to rise up to standing. Hug your shoulder blades down your spine and gaze ahead.
*Repeat on both sides and hold each for 20 seconds.
Chair Pose will warm-up your quads, shoulders, chest, and belly.
Come to standing and then sit down low with your big toes either touching or your feet hip-width distance apart. Keep your knees stacked over your ankles. Widen through your chest and externally rotate your arms.
*Hold this pose for at least 20 seconds.
This pose will stretch the spine and hamstrings, soften the knees, and release the head, neck, and shoulders.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-width distance apart and then soften your knees and roll down. Lightly touch the ground or allow your hands to dangle. Release your head and neck. Then, if confident, interlace opposite biceps and gently swag back and forth. Focus on lengthening through the spine rather than straightening the knees.
*Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
This pose will stretch the hips, quads, and glutes. It’s also a great pose to practice after you are done biking.
Begin in a low lunge on your right side and then toe-heel your foot out to the side of your mat or space. Release your left knee to the earth. Bring your palms to the inside of your right foot or even your forearms if you have the flexibility. If you’re confident, then release your head and neck.
For a deeper stretch, bend your left knee and reach around and grab the outside of your left foot with your left hand. Keep your left hand firmly planted and lengthen through your chest.
Remember to always listen to your body to strive for sensation rather than pain when trying this sequence. Happy riding!