Simple, yoga based stretches which focus on areas that are known to get a workout from biking (that said, any of these would be beneficial to any activity).
Remember Yoga is all about breath and the stretches will be much more beneficial if you can breathe deeply and fully in each position. If you are holding your breath or squeezing yourself into a position, it’s unlikely to be doing you the good it is designed for!
Stay mindful during stretching and listen to your body, feeling the stretch and feeling a movement to be tough, but do-able is okay, feeling pain is NOT the goal.
I have included images of less and more intense versions of the stretch in some cases, but even if there is no picture of a less forceful stretch option, please do only what is within the limits of your body on any given day.
I am not a doctor, so please, if in doubt or you have a medical condition of any sort, don’t do these poses before consulting a medical professional. If you are pregnant, listen to your body and avoid anything that leans on or folds into your bump.
Happy stretching, Nicole
- Known in Yoga as Cat and Cow, these movements are done together and will both warm up and stretch out your back, stretch your shoulders and hips, strengthen your wrists and tone your abs.
- Start on all fours, making sure your knees are stacked under your hips and your shoulders are over your wrists. Your toes can be flat or tucked – whichever is more comfortable for you.
- Inhale and exhale deeply. On the next inhale, tip your tailbone up and lift your head. Make sure your shoulders stay wide across the front and the shoulder blades draw together and feel like they are moving down towards your waist. Keep strong and stable with yours shoulders braced and your core engaged as your back extends gently. Do not dip your back down so much it feels uncomfortable and make sure your lower abs are tightly engaged.
- As you exhale, drop your head, tuck your tail bone under and flex your spine up. Pull your navel in and up as though to glue it to the front side of your spine and push up through your shoulders and hips. Your shoulder blades will separate creating space an a stretch in the middle of your back.
- As you inhale move slowly back though to the first position – Cow- until you have fully inhaled.
- As you exhale move back into the second position – Cat.
- Repeat as many times as feels necessary, but at least 5 each way.
- If it feels right at the end you can return to the neutral position you started in and then make large circles with your hips first one way then the other.
- This will stretch out shoulders, which can get stiff and sore from holding your handle bars tightly!
- Starting in the neutral, all fours position, take your left hand and pass it though the space between your right hand and your right leg.
- As it passes through here, twist your body gently so you can lie your shoulder (arm if you are slightly stiffer, or ear as well if you are more flexible) along the ground.
- Turning your face to the right side and rest the side of your head onto the ground.
- Brace your right hand on the ground in front of your face and gently push through it to lift your right shoulder, increasing the stretch in your left shoulder and to get a gentle twist in your upper back.
- Engage your core and breathe here for as long as you wish.
- You can lift your right hand and bring around your back, reaching for the left hip crease as a slight variation of this pose.
- When you are ready, using your right hand in front of your face again to push you up, lift your head, pull your left arm back and come back to all fours, checking your knees and hips and shoulders and wrists are still aligned before repeating the movement using the right arm.
- Side plank. This will stretch your side, strengthen your whole body – particularly abs, adductor and glutes in the hips. It is also good to build strength in the wrists.
- Starting on all fours, brace your left hand under your nose.
- Slide your right foot back, putting the whole sole of the foot on the floor. You can stay here and reach your right hand up into the air for a more sturdy version of this pose. If you stay here, turn the inner thigh of the top leg up as though to reach it up to the sky – this will stretch into your hip.
- If you would like to move into the next stage, bring the left leg out straight to meet the right. Your feet can be placed one in front of the other, or stacked on top of each other like in the picture.
- Reach the right hand up to the sky – extending it fully. Keep your left shoulder braced and strong, engage your core and reach up to the sky with your hips.
- Breath here for as long as you can, before lowering the left leg, then bring the right arm down, then right leg, finishing in the all fours position you started in.
- Rest in all fours or any way you wish, before repeating on the opposite side.
- This will stretch out and strengthen your lower back, stretch your quads, your abs and your hip flexors.
- Start kneeling with your knees hip width apart and your hands on your hips. Lengthen up from the waist, keeping your shoulders relaxed and loose, but becoming as tall as you can.
- Engage your core muscles and on an exhale, begin to bend your back, bringing your chest forward and your shoulders and head back.
- Bring your elbows in towards each other and press your hip bones out towards the front, this takes some pressure from your lower back and stretches out the hip flexors. Engage your thighs and your glutes.
- Breathe here for one or two rounds of breath only, then release the pose.
- The pose can be repeated as many times as wished.
- A stretch for the legs and hips.
- Again, start on all fours, then step your right foot forward between your hands. You may need to move your foot with your hands to get it into the right position to begin with.
- Keeping the left knee down, lift your hands off the floor and rise up until your back is straight. You may want to have the mat folded or to be kneeling on a towel or cushion.
- Making sure your front knee is not leaning over the front ankle – shuffle your foot further from your body if it is – knee and ankle should be in a straight line- then, while exhaling, sink your hips down, stretching the quads and hip of the back leg and strengthening the hamstrings of the front leg. Breathe here.
- Come out of the deep sinking stretch slightly, engage your core, pull your hip bones up to reduce the space between them and your bottom ribs, reach your arms up into the sky and stretch up.
- Keep your shoulders away from your ears, your arms strong and straight. If you wish you can lean back slightly for a further stretch of your back.
- Bring your hands back down to the sides of your front foot.
- Tuck the toes of your back foot and straighten the back leg. You may want to stay here, with your hands on the ground to stretch here, or raise the arms, lift the hip bones and reach up to the sky, holding this pose to lengthen and strengthen the leg muscles.
Just had another treatment to get me ready to leave for Hamburg WTS race! Fantastic treatment and already booked in for when I return. Giving my bod the TLC needed when I’m putting it through its paces, thank you for being great!
Jodie Stimpson, British Triathlete