Here’s a cycling tip: never skip the warm-up stretch! Everyone’s guilty of skipping at one point or another, but stretching before a ride has several benefits. It gets you pumped up and prepares your body as well as your mind for the ride ahead.
Here are a few stretches we like to do before we set off into San Diego.
Stretching for Success
- The butterfly stretch. While sitting upright, pull both feet toward your body and push your knees gently toward the ground with your hands. This helps increase the range of motion of your hips and knees.
- The leg swing. Stand next to your bike on one side, holding the seat to keep it and yourself stable. Then, swing the outside leg forward and backward, keeping your leg straight. Do this ten times, and then turn to face your bike. Using the same leg, swing side by side to stretch your hip, thigh and groin muscles. Do this ten times. Repeat the exercise for your other leg.
- The cat-cow stretch. Get down on all fours, with your shoulders above your wrists and your hips above your knees. Inhale while slowly arching your back, letting your stomach push toward the floor while your hips and shoulder rise. Reverse position as you exhale. This stretch helps warm and loosen the muscles around your spine and glutes.
- The chest stretch. This quick exercise helps prevent your chest muscles from tightening while you are hunched over your handlebars. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and facing your bike. Grab your seat and handlebars and lean so that your torso is parallel to the ground. Push your chest slightly down toward the ground and pull it back up five to ten times.
- Butt kicks. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Alternate jumping up and down with each leg, bending one knee at a time and kicking toward the glute on the same side. Do this for 30 seconds to open up the front of your legs. Don’t overdo the jump – it’s the kick that’s important.