Discover the best cycling stretches to keep muscles flexible and the lower back pain-free, incorporating yoga stretches into a regular cycle fitness regime.

Regular cyclists often suffer from lower back pain due to sitting hunched over the saddle for long periods. Many riders also find certain muscle groups are tight after a long ride, especially the hamstrings, as they are so little used in the cycling action.

This article looks at the best cycling stretches using both the static stretches pioneered by Bob Anderson in his book Stretching and some classic yoga forward and back bending asanas.

Basic Stretches for Cyclists

The best time to perform basic stretches for cyclists is after a cycle ride when muscles are still warm, and there is less danger of tearing them. Five essential stretches take just a few minutes to perform:

  • Hamstring Stretch – to flex the often tight hamstring muscles at the back of the leg.
  • Quad Stretch – to ease tightness in the much-used front quadriceps muscles.
  • Squats – to work the lower back.
  • Calf Stretch – to relieve tension in the rear lower leg.
  • Triceps and Lats Stretch – using pulldowns to alleviate discomfort in the upper arms.

Back Bends and Hamstring Stretches on a Yoga Mat

Once these standing stretches have been completed, focus next on backbends using a yoga mat or other non-slip cushioned surface. The classic Adho Mukhasvanasana yoga pose, commonly called Downward Dog, is a perfect stretch to ease lower back pain while also flexing the hamstrings at the same time.

To perform the asana:

  1. Stand straight, then bend over, resting the palms on the floor if possible.
  2. Shift one foot back then the other so that both feet are parallel and the same width apart as the hands.
  3. With the heels on the floor, raise the torso, stretch upwards, push the heels back, and keep the palms flat.

It is a beautiful, invigorating stretch that should be held for at least 5 or 6 breaths.

The counter stretch for the lower back is Upward Dog, where you move into a plank position from Downward Dog, flip the toes under so the body is resting on the front of the feet, then, with palms in the same place, push the body up off the floor, arching the back in the opposite direction. Refer to the pictures below to see how the two moves are performed.

Bicycle Stretches

Countless other yoga asanas are perfect bicycle stretches for the lower back. For example, the Locust position, but Downward and Upward Dog combined with the five basic cycling stretches above offer a great way to keep regular riders flexible and hopefully pain-free when practiced regularly, of course.

Those who take up yoga more seriously can practice first thing in the morning, easing the body gradually into deeper and deeper stretches, the perfect pre-training warm-up.

Best Stretching Exercises for Cyclists

Make regular stretching exercises for cyclists part of your cycle fitness regime. With only a few minutes required post-ride for the basic stretches, there’s no excuse for not keeping tight muscles flexible and the lower back, hopefully, free from pain.


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