Many aspiring and established athletes overlook the importance of flexibility; too often, getting the heart rate up through cardiovascular exercise carry immense benefits. For cyclist, stretching plays an important role in counteracting stifness. Performed consistently, holding stretch for 15 seconds can dramatically increase range of motion, which in turn helps to decrease the risk of injury as muscles become more elastic. Stretching also increases blood flow so that more nourishment can reach muscles, and waste products that build up in working muscles, such as lactic acid, can be more removed.
The following exercises improve flexibility in your legs as well as your hips, abdominals, and gluteal muscles.
1. Reclining Spinal Twist
Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest.
Lower your left leg to the mat and squeeze your right knee into your chest.
Stretch your right arm out to the side, palm facing down.
Hook your right foot behind your left inner thigh and gently guide your right knee across your body, down towards the mat, as far as is comfortable.
Look to the right and try to keep both shoulders flat to the mat.
Stay in the pose for a minimum of 10 deep breaths and up to 5 minutes, in and out through your nose.
Take a deep breath in. Exhale, come back to centre and switch sides.
Avoid this pose if you have a knee or hip injury.