Cycling make me less flexible, help me keep reasonably bendy?
April 24, 2021 11:39 AM   Subscribe

I am starting cycling again (well, e-bike) after several months of not doing so. Last time I was cycling I found that my flexibility seriously diminished as my strength and endurance went up, and I'm not flexible to start with. I feel like this must happen to other people, but googling for cycling stretches seems to just find stuff for super-fit cyclists looking to improve their cycling. Are there specific exercises/yoga routines/whatever to counteract my reduction in flexibility?

Constraint: really needs to be something that I can do at home that doesn't need any more space than a yoga mat takes up. I'd prefer videos to an app, but I don't mind spending money on, say a great DVD. Bonus for instructors who are calm rather than peppy. I'm very happy for stuff that works on general bendiness as well as dealing the specific reduction in lower body bendiness from cycling.
posted by Vortisaur to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
How about a private session (online) with a pro cyclist who specializes in yoga for athletes? Leslee is a wonderful person too. Tune Yoga
posted by evilmomlady at 12:06 PM on April 24, 2021

I find that if I look for themed yoga videos from Yoga With Adriene, they pretty much do what they say they will. So this Yoga for Flexibility, which is only 16 mins, might be a good start. You might want to branch out from there but Adriene is a great resource for someone who wants to start right now. Any yoga is likely to help in general, but a practice presented as hatha is likely to be about settling into poses and that might be helpful for you.
posted by vunder at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

This is a really good question that I'm also very interested in seeing responses to, as a cyclist currently rehabbing her knee due to poor bike fit (fixed) and due to not warming up and cooling down sufficiently before and after bike rides (working on it).

I really like DareBee, which is a free exercise database. The two places I'd suggest looking there is their Warmup page and the Workout Database, where you can filter by type of exercise, upper/lower body, etc. I've filtered for full-body stretches without equipment, and got this list from which I personally would probably pick the everyday stretching or the superhero stretch, since they have good leg stretches.
posted by elsmith at 12:20 PM on April 24, 2021

Was also coming here to recommend Yoga with Adrienne - so many options and you only need a mat.
posted by leslies at 12:29 PM on April 24, 2021

yeah, yoga. i cycle quite a bit and find my hamstrings get absurdly tight (leading to all sorts of other issues) unless i regularly do yoga. i use yoga studio app which has loads of options in-terms of time and focus and experience level, and you can add your own music.
posted by tomp at 12:44 PM on April 24, 2021

Have you tried foam rolling?
posted by oceano at 1:25 PM on April 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I find every type of activity responds well to having a strong core. youtube has a million 8-10 minute core workouts that combine stretching warmups with various types of crunches and planks. Even if you don't go hard on the exercise portion, warming up your core prior to cycling will help with flexibility and there's a lot of overlap between these stretches and basic yoga type (as opposed to yoga practice) moves.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:17 PM on April 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another cyclist here who regularly practices yoga to stay flexible. I use the Gaiam app, which has workouts from 10 to 30 minutes targeted at flexibility for three levels of ability (the beginner level is VERY beginner).

The Peloton app has post-ride stretches and some foam rolling, and offers a 30-day free trial. The post-ride stretches are targeted at the most-used muscle groups in cycling.

Happy stretching!
posted by JawnBigboote at 4:12 PM on April 24, 2021

Seconding diligent foam rolling. The biggies that tighten up from cycling are IT band and hip flexor. I also like to use a muscle roller stick on the IT band because the foam roller can be a little much sometimes. A warrior I pose with a slight side bend is great for stretching the hip flexor.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 11:10 AM on April 25, 2021

Foam rolling is great, I also like Yoga15, has good cycling related stuff.
posted by tardigrade at 9:39 AM on April 26, 2021

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