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3 Essential Stretches for Cyclists

Before and after exercise is a great time to stretch. Pre exercise the aim of stretching and mobility exercises is to prepare your body for what is to come. You want to warm up and loosen up any stiffness in order to put your body in the best position for your training session or race. This can significantly reduce your risk of injury. After exercise, a warm down and stretches aims to prevent muscles tightening up from the exercise that you have done and to ensure that you will have effective recovery before your next training session.

Here are 3 essential stretches and mobility exercises for cyclists which take just 3-4 minutes to complete. They cover the key areas of tightness and give you good bang for your buck as they each address a few areas.

Lunge stretch

This targets the hip flexors and quadriceps muscles which are heavily used in cycling and both remain in relatively short positions throughout the cycling motion so are likely to get tight and stiff without some attention. This is a great stretch to prevent knee pain such as patellafemoral joint irritation.

Ease yourself into a lunge position with your back knee resting on the floor, use a pillow if you have knobbly knees or are on a hard surface. Shift your upper body forwards to that your supporting knee is slightly behind your body and take hold of your ankle with your hand or a strap, depending on your flexibility, and pull your heel towards your buttocks. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Upper back mobility using a foam roller

This is great exercise to prevent upper back and neck pain. Using a foam roller you can stretch your upper back out of the flexed position it was in throughout your training session. This exercise can also open your chest to stretch your pectoral muscles which work to support your upper body weight on the handle bars and keep your arms tucked in. Due to the constant forward position on the bike these areas tend to get very stiff and immobile especially if you are in an aerodynamic or racing position.

For this mobility exercise you need to lie with your mid back rested on a foam roller with your hands behind and supporting your head and elbows as wide as they can be. Stretch your upper back over the roller keeping your abdominals tight to ensure your lower back stays still so you only move your upper back. Slowly return and repeat the stretch several times at each level of your back, moving the roller higher or lower. You want to work through your whole upper back from just below your shoulder blades to the base of your neck.

Pigeon pose stretch

This is a great yoga position that can stretch out your gluteal muscles as well as your lower back. During the pedal stroke our gluteals should be working hard but will always be in a similar position so like our quads have a tendency to get very tight after a hard ride, especially after hilly or higher resistance sessions. This is a great stretch to prevent issues with your Iliotibial band.

Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees. Step your right foot through and rest your heel in front of your left knee. Lower your right knee to the floor and slide your left leg as far back as you can stretch. To include a stretch of your lower back you can bring your chest down towards your right knee. Hold this final position for 30 seconds, ease out and repeat on the opposite side.

For further advice, please get in touch with the Flawless Physio team here.

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Very knowledgeable physio Team! Was in London on a business meeting and ended up visiting James for some urgent treatment on my lower back. Delighted with the service. James put me at ease straight away. His treatment was paramount in getting me through what was a hectic weekend. Could not recommend enough. Will definitely be back when in London again!
Funky Inflatable Co.
Funky Inflatable Co.
17:29 11 Sep 18
Went to "Flawless Physio" two weeks ago for back pain that I'd been carrying for months. Three sessions later, it's all gone! The staff was very pleasant, professional and gave me a series of simple exercises to do at home. I definitely recommend them. I'll be back, hopefully not too soon ;)
Charles Muzard
Charles Muzard
13:04 24 Sep 18
I was recommended to see James by my consultant following surgery to my ankle. He was extremely professional and knowledgable. He motivated me throughout the process and I have now returned to long distance running thanks to his help. I would recommend his services to anyone
David Burns
David Burns
19:32 08 Sep 18
Awesome team. I ended up having to seek out treatment when my back went into spasm (on going problem) whilst down visiting friends. I saw James and he was very professional and through with his treatment. More importantly he gave me a better understanding about what was going on and how to manage my injury in the future. Highly recommended!
James Tatham
James Tatham
08:03 20 Sep 18
I received treatment from Vicky for a very stiff and painful neck, possibly brought on by tension. I felt confident that my therapist was knowledgeable. The service was very friendly and professional and I felt good progress from the first session already. Vicky recommended some exercises and explained how to do them with very clear diagrams and instructions. I would highly recommend Vicky
Tiziana Guffanti
Tiziana Guffanti
17:23 29 Aug 18
I would highly recommend Flawless Physio. Excellent knowledge/treatment and also brilliant customer care - following up and giving advice. Tailored rehab to suit the type and level of sport as well as lifestyle. My wife & I have been treated by both James & Victoria and they have both been great. Will continue to use for any future injury & rehab.
Joe Gomes
Joe Gomes
19:11 30 Mar 19
I saw Victoria for my dodgy shoulder, and she was brilliant. Very professional And knowledgeable, she really took time to explain what was going on and to treat it. She followed up with me to check I was getting on well with the exercises. She is also really accommodating with timings for appointments. I couldn't recommend more highly, thank you Victoria!
Fiona Hall
Fiona Hall
08:35 27 Mar 19
First class. Had 4 or 5 appointments with Victoria that were always late in the evening, although you wouldn't know it. She took her time, whether that be on soft tissue work, explaining how to do an exercise, or the purpose behind it. A genuine person that wants to help and she clearly knows her stuff.
Jamie Moles
Jamie Moles
21:14 20 Jan 19
Went to flawless physio and vic was great! Training for a marathon and she was very understanding and helpful. Living in the Twickenham area so was in great location! Her specialist knowledge in knee injuries was able to get me back running in two weeks 🏃🏼‍♀️
Ruth Herlihy
Ruth Herlihy
23:44 25 Jan 19
I injured my leg (ITB) training for the Berlin Marathon and then made it far worse it by trying to run it. Victoria has been essential in my recovery, helping me understand how to strengthen the right muscle groups and get back to running. I have been very impressed by the depth of knowledge and insight. This weekend I will run the Cancer Research 10km. Thank you!
Paul Carpenter
Paul Carpenter
17:02 28 Jan 19
Really impressed with the service provided at Flawless Physio. Vicky was knowledgeable, professional and her invaluable treatment and advice got me to the start of this year’s marathon when I’d had to stop running with 8weeks to go. Without the advice and care I received at Flawless Physio, at best I’d have limped my way round the course and at worst, not been able to take part at all. Definitely recommend!
Katy Gomes
Katy Gomes
11:03 30 May 19
James helped resolve a hamstring injury that had troubled me for the best part of a year. I'll certainly use Flawless Physio for any future issues. Highly recommended.
Sandeep C
Sandeep C
18:02 30 Apr 19