Training & Nutrition

Video: Calf Stretch for Cyclists

We're bringing you 6 stretches, then 6 strengthening exercises. Here's stretch number four...

Stretching is an essential element of training for a cyclist. Neglecting the low intensity activity can result in injury, and even if you’re not unlucky enough to meet with pain, you’ll struggle to get the very best from your muscles if they’re tight and unhappy. 

To help you develop a regular stretching routine, we’ve teamed up with the bike fitting and body experts at Velo Atelier to bring you a series of six stretches which will help you to keep limber.

Each stretch is demonstrated by pilates instructor Dorte Jensen and her assistant. Though you may have seen them before, Dorte will show the correct way to complete the movement without causing injury by placing stress elsewhere.

Here are the exercises we’ve done, and have yet to cover…

Cyclists do have a tenancy to focus their stretching efforts on the lower back, glutes and hips. Though these are all good areas to stretch, it’s important to remember that the calves work with every push and pull of the pedals – too.

During the pedal stroke, your heel is often lifted – which shortens the calf, and if it’s not stretched out again you can meet with problems. For example, you can end up with issues around the ankles and achilles tendons, or knee pain caused by incorrect tracking.

Here’s how to keep those calves happy…

How to: the calf stretch

  • Face the wall, and put your hands in line with your shoulders
  • Take a step back, putting one leg behind you and placing the heel on the ground
  • The front leg should be bent
  • Square up the pelvis so it’s straight, and think of pressing your heel into the floor
  • The pelvis must be square, so that the hips are not twisted. The heel must be in line with the second toe. If this is not the case, you could end up stretching the wrong area, and feeling very little benefit
  • Press the palms into the wall, and imaging sliding your shoulders down
  • Hold this for 15-20 seconds, then repeat on the other side

About Velo Atelier and Dorte Jensen

The team at Velo Atelier offer ‘products for the discerning cyclist’ – they work with physiotherapists to provide clinical bike fitting, as well as coaching, saddle mapping, custom frame building, and pilates classes to name just a few.

Dorte Jensen is a level 3 pilates instructor with over five years experience. The stretches in our videos aren’t likely to be unknown to you, but she’ll demonstrate the correct way to carry them out and highlight common errors which can hamper the effects of the stretch.

You can see the first stretch in the series, the glute stretch, here and the quad stretch here. The next guide will be with you next week. 

You might also like… 

Common Cycling Niggles and Bike Fit Fixes

The Best Way to Plank

The Priestess of Pilates Shares Three Best Exercises for Cyclists

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