We recently had the pleasure of joining the women’s pro-cycling team, Wiggle High5, in Majorca where we caught up with British rider and double Olympic champion, Dani King to get her top tips to help you keep your muscles loose on the bike.
Stretching is an essential part of Dani’s routine, and as a founder of coaching business Rowe and King, it’s something that she encourages her clients to do to help recovery and robustness on the bike. Here are Dani’s recommended stretches that are designed to loosen up the key muscles that we use heavily whilst riding.
The first stretch is one we see runners doing often – but it’s just as important for cyclists. King says: “Stand in a relaxed position and raise your back leg behind you and lightly hold the back heal with your hand. You will feel a stretch down the front of your leg. Repeat on both sides, holding for around 30 seconds each.”
King has two Hamstring stretches for us. She says: “I’d put my leg on a raised platform but bend at the hips, keeping my spine straight so bending over to stretch the hamstring.”
Her second exercise is pictured below and she says: “I would get on the floor and do another hamstring stretch that also stretches the glutes – so you lie flat on your back and one leg at a time you pull your knee to your chest.”
Number three is crucial for those spending time on the bike – King says: “This one is as simple as sitting upright and crossing one leg over the other. So for example if I am putting my right leg over my left leg then I put my left arm over the other leg and look the other way so I stretch all the way down the IT Band.”
This one can be quite strong – so there are two versions if the first is too uncomfortable: “Start on your knees with one leg in front and one knee on the ground, pull your back leg behind you so it’s stretching all down your hip flexor. Mine get really tight with cycling. Squeezing your glutes at the same time will make it a deeper stretch.”
Too painful? “A lighter version of this stretch is to keep the back leg down.”
Another one we often see from runners, but more cyclists should be doing – King says: “Lean into a wall, keeping your right leg forward with the foot flat on the floor. Then extend your left leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor. You should feel a good stretch in the calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and change sides.”
For even more information on stretching for cyclists we recommend reading these: