Yoga for cyclists is more than just the downward dog – and cycling specialists are learning that yoga can actually relieve muscle tension and increase both power and endurance. Many cyclists are turning to yoga to gain a competitive edge. Adding a bit of yoga to your fitness regime will improve flexibility and strength and loosen your muscles.
Many cyclists struggle with ongoing muscle tension issues. The posture that cyclists assume while riding can lead to tension in the hips, back, and shoulders. This can lead to pain both on and off the bike. It can also inhibit movement which can create an inefficient riding style.
How many times have you seen a cyclist begin a ride with good posture and finish it with their body looking like it is ready to crumble under the strain of their own weight? How many of you have been there yourself? Fixing the issue requires more than just building strength- you also need to minimize tension in the muscles. Try these yoga moves to improve your cycling!
Yoga for Cyclists – Top Poses
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1. Bound Angle – Cycling can lead and strain of the inner thigh muscles. It can also lead to tight hip and gluteal muscles that struggle to engage when you need them. The Bound Angle pose allows you to comfortably engage and stretch the muscles of the inner thigh as you lengthen the spinal column and relax your hips. Sit with the soles of your feet together and pull your feet in towards your pelvis as close as they can comfortably go. Wrap your hands around your feet, with thumbs towards the soles of your feet. Inhale and stretch up, lengthening your spine. Then exhale and relax your body forward so that your chest is over your feet. Relax and hold for six deep breaths. A variation of this pose involves following it up by turning to your left and right with your upper body while remaining in the seated position. This will lead to increased flexibility and relaxation of the lower spinal column.
2. Cobra Pose – Cyclists lean forward when they ride, which shortens the abdominal muscles. This can lead to tightness and cramping. To help lengthen the abdominal core muscles while strengthening the muscles in the back, assume the Cobra Pose position. Lay flat on the ground and place your hands, palm down, under your shoulders. Lift your head, neck, and chest and push forward. Focus on lengthening the muscles of the abdomen as you breathe deeply.
3. Camel Pose – Leaning forward to cycle expands and stretches the muscles of the chest and shoulders. This posture opens up the chest and also allows you to extend your neck back. Hold the pose and breathe deeply for about 30 seconds.
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4. Squat – Cyclists commonly have issues with pelvic alignment. This is because cycling forces the pelvis out of its natural position. Squats force the pelvis to align naturally and open the lower back. As an added bonus, the stretch the Achilles tendon and ankles. Start with a ten second hold and gradually add time until you build up to a sixty second hold.
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5. Pigeon – Cyclists are notorious for having tight hips and buttocks. Although this may sound like a good thing, it can actually mean that extended periods of sitting, standing, and walking can be uncomfortable. The Pigeon move can help by allowing your stiff hips to open effectively, allowing for an external rotation of the legs. Avoid the Pigeon if you have probably with your knees or sacroiliac issues, as this move can place stress on those areas. Maintain a comfortable alignment for about thirty seconds.
Although you should stretch your body, you should never push your body to the point of pain or discomfort. Stretching past the point of discomfort can lead to muscle strains and pulls.
Remember that, although cycling offers an excellent workout, to be physically fit you should also engage in other activities. Yoga helps both stretch and strengthen the muscles and can help combat some of the aches and pains cyclists can experience. Yoga for cyclists and other athletes can even improve performance.
At Kass & Moses, we are avid cyclists – which is why we take great pride in representing injured bicyclists. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle crash and you are curious if you might have a claim, contact us today!