Post-Ride, Cool-Down Yoga Stretches

Chrissie Tarbitt, Cyclist's Lunge

Chrissie Tarbitt, Cyclist's Lunge

It’s all too easy come off our bikes at the end of a ride and tend to other needs; grabbing something to eat or drink, or jumping into the shower.

Of course these are an important part of our recovery, but a few minutes spent on post-ride stretches can pay huge dividends with injury prevention and increasing our flexibility (warm muscles respond so much more kindly to being stretched than cold ones!).

So here are my top 4 stretches as part of your post-ride cool-down.

1. Back and shoulder release

I love this one as you also get a gentle hamstring stretch into the bargain (not unlike a downward dog pose in a yoga class).

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  • Steady yourself on the bar, hands approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Walk the feet back until you come into a 90 degree angle with the ground
  • If this feels too tight on the back of the legs, soften the knees
  • Keep the spine long and extended and your gaze to the ground avoiding undue tension in the neck
  • A gentle tuck of the tailbone towards the ground will prevent undue tension in the lower back
  • The key is to take a few slow deep breaths and enjoy this stretch along the sides of the body, and through the shoulders
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds, then walk the feet towards your bike and stand up slowly

 2. Glutes stretch

This is one of my favourite stretches in my yoga classes. It’s a preparation for the “eagle pose” and is fabulous for releasing tension in the glutes. Again we get to use the bar of the bike.

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  • Hold onto the bar approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Bend the standing leg and sit back as if going to sit on a chair
  • Lift the other leg off the floor, turn out the hip and place the leg (just above the ankle) on the standing leg
  • Again use the breath to help you relax and keep the oxygen flowing to the muscles
  • Try not to slump into the stretch by keeping the spine long and looking forward
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds on each side

As the eternal optimist, I’m offering these next two on the basis that it won’t be pouring with rain when you come off your bike through the summer season, so you can take socks and shoes off (although they do work with shoes on too!). It’s so good to be able to stretch out the feet after a long ride.

3. Front of the lower leg stretch

  • Chrissie Tarbitt, Integrated WellbeingHold onto the bar approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Really feel the standing foot connect with the ground so all the little muscles in the foot are fired up and ready to give you stability up through the ankle and the knee into the hip
  • Take the other foot back, keeping the spine long and avoiding any arching of the lower back
  • Gently place the toes on the ground (hopefully there is some grass nearby) and soften that leg very slightly to enjoy a gentle stretch through the front of the foot and shin
  • Take a few deep breaths and hold for at least 30 seconds on each side

4. Stretch out those tired digits!

Integrated Wellbeing, Chrissie Tarbitt,

  • Hold onto the bar, again approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Start with a firm foundation, a long spine and gazing forward
  • Rock back very gently onto the heels and lift the toes out in front of you
  • Raise the heels off the ground slowly and inhale

 

  • Slowly lower the heels to the ground on an exhale
  • Repeat at least 3 times

Check back soon for more sport-specific yoga, or sign up for my Integrated Wellbeing newsletter so you won’t miss a thing!  And please share your own favourite warm-down stretches in the Comments below.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

 

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