Post-Ride, Cool-Down Yoga Stretches

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).


  • 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.


  • 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


Manilla Cycling – 2016 Season


I’ve really enjoyed watching the progress of the Manilla Cycling Team during 2016 and, as one of their sponsors, playing a small part in their continued success.

Adam Brooks, who was promoted from Team Coach to Team Principal in May, has overseen the continuation of the great work done by his predecessor and team founder, Tony McDonagh.  Here’s Adam’s review of their busy 2016.


The team enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, with some outstanding performances in the Velo 29 Croft Winter Series, particularly for the junior riders, with Tom Hill and Ted Kane getting on the podium for the first time and youth rider Alana Prior taking back to back wins.



March continued to be a busy month with a strong team of both senior and junior riders heading to the Tour of Northumberland 2-day stage race.

Will Corbett and Robert Wallace both put in fantastic performances on day 1, finishing within the front group in very challenging conditions. Stage 2, with some particularly tough climbs, was tamed by Will Corbett, riding strongly at the front of the race before attacking on the final lap and taking the stage win and securing the overall victory on General Classification as well.


April started with some amazing performances from the Manilla ladies with Alana Prior taking a great stage win at the Youth Tour of Scotland and Nikki Metcalfe taking 2nd at the Prologue Criterium Series in York. Junior riders Robert Wallace and Ted Kane rounded out April with an excellent 2nd and 3rd place at the Westmorland Tankard Road Race and 1st and 2nd junior prizes.








Moving into May, Nikki Metcalfe continued to fly the Manilla flag in the ladies races, taking 3rd place in three criteriums.

Will Corbett, Robert Wallace and Joel McGlynn began to combine well at the PTR/Speedflex Summer Series with Will taking a 2nd place before Joel recorded a fantastic win for the team a week later.

Joel continued his fine form with an excellent 2nd place at Round 2 of the iMann Trophy in Northumberland, and Robert then closed out May by taking the win at the evening criterium.


June was the month of the Regional Championships, with riders all over the country competing in their home regions and vying for the crowns of regional champion.  Alana Prior stepped up and took the win at Hetton Country Park, making her North East Youth Girls Regional Champion.


Stand-out performances over the summer included youngsters Will Corbett and Alana Prior both taking a number of wins at the Croft Tl Series, with Nikki Metcalfe taking the overall series victory for the ladies. Our Time Trial specialists also began to set some cracking times with an interesting inter-club battle between Craig Carruthers, Nik Parker and Adam Jarps, all setting new PBs along the way. Our female Time Trialist Pam Greer also got in on the action recording a number of victories.








Craig Carruthers won the final Round of the iMann Trophy races in Northumberland, against a quality field of riders, and Will Corbett continued his excellent form throughout July taking numerous podiums in the local criterium series.

Youth rider Alana Prior once again showed her class taking an unbelievable 3rd place and bronze medal at the National Youth Criterium Championships.

As summer came to an end the young junior riders demonstrated their talent with Ted Kane grabbing a podium place in the Speedflex Summer Evening Series. New signing Adam Jarps started his Manilla Cycling career with a superb 2nd place at Ouesburn Valley Cross before putting in a sterling performance a week later, setting the fastest time at the Scottish National Youth Time Trial Championships.

The close of the 2016 season marks the start of an exciting time for the team with the launch of an Under 23 Academy for 2017 to provide a pathway to support the development of young riders to compete at a higher level.

I look forward to watching Manilla Cycling go from strength to strength next season. You can follow their progress at their website, on Facebook and Twitter.

And for the cyclists amongst you, check out my post-ride cool down yoga stretches article from earlier in the year!

With wellbeing wishes,

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing



Team WattCycle – June 2015

Team WattCycle

The racing season is in full swing and the Team WattCycle men and women are going great guns! As proud sponsors of such a dynamic team of cyclists, here are a few of our highlights of the last couple of months.


April saw Jenn Batey and Ellen McDermott make their National Series debut in the two-day Tour of the Reservoir in County Durham, competing against elite pro’s from many major teams, Chris Sleath finish a fantastic 4th in the Tour of Northumberland cat. 3 race, Paul Dixon and James Wilson on the podium in the CD NE Evening Series, Rob Wallace secure what would be the first of many podium finishes in an under-16 race, and the Team have 5 top 20 finishers in a large field for the 90k Phillip Russell Memorial Road Race in Middlesbrough. The month ended with Ellen McDermott’s sprint for 2nd in the Activcity Edinburgh Ingliston Crit to secure her cat. 2 rider status.

Team WattCycle

Ellen & Jenn – Tour of the Reservoir

Team WattCycle

Chris Sleath – Tour of Northumberland (pic: Iain Robertson)



Aside from road racing, Hazel Wright donned a GB age group tri suit for the first time to compete at the European Duathlon Championships (sprint distance), Nikki Parker-Bell put in a great performance at the Stockton Duathlon, and Anna Weaver won her Duathlon to qualify for the GB Age Group Team for the World Championships later this year in Australia.


May started with Women’s Team Manager Karen Poole and Anna Weaver racing in the Tour De Yorkshire amongst a large international field.

As the month progressed there were podium finishes for several WattCycle riders, including Chris Tidd, Robert Wallace, James Wilson and Paul Dixon.

Ellen McDermott rode alongside some top international riders in the televised Pearl Izumi Tour Series, the biggest circuit race series in the UK.

Angela Hibbs won her third race of the season in the NE Championship Series, with Karen Poole in 2nd place, and Nikki Metcalfe and Hazel Wright in the top 10.

Team WattCycle, Body Matters

Angela Hibbs & Karen Poole on the podium again!

Team WattCycle, Body Matters

Hannah Farran, winner, Northumberland Triathlon

Towards the end of May, Karen and Nikki secured top 10 positions in the National Masters Championships. Hannah Farran put in an amazing performance to take 2nd place at the Nottingham Triathlon. Karen put in another strong attacking performance at the Doncaster Crit, taking 5th. Pam Greer secured 1st place in a 25m TT, and Angela won a 10m TT with another PB for the season.

June started in similarly impressive style with Hanna winning the Northumberland Triathlon, Karen racing strongly in the Tour of Cambridgeshire to qualify for the World Masters Championships, and Ellen riding in Bradley Wiggins’s support races at the Olympic Velodrome when he secured the One Hour world record!!!

Keep up to date with the Team through the summer via their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, and we’ll post another update here as the season progresses.

Chrissie Tarbitt - Integrated Wellbeing

Team WattCycle – March 2015 Update


With the weather improving and the women’s team taking their first season by storm, we’re loving following Team WattCycle’s weekly road cycling adventures.

Both the men’s and women’s teams post regular updates via Facebook and Twitter for those keen to follow their progress but these are a few highlights of the last month.

February saw the close of the Velo 29 Winter Series and the team picking up their first ever piece of silverware as Team of the Series.

On 7th March Nikki Metcalfe secured her first podium place at the Highfields Godleys race, and Joel McGlynn’s strong start to the season continued with a 2nd place finish at Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit.

The following day saw members of the team racing in Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Northumberland, with the Team WattCycle women competing in their first road race. An amazing team performance was capped by Angela Hibbs winning the sprint to take 1st place.

TWC_veloTeamofSeries, Team WattCycle, Integrated Wellbeing

Velo 29 Team of the Series

Ellen McDermott, Team WattCycle, Integrated Wellbeing

Ellen McDermott, COTC Stirling

The girls’ success continued on 22nd March with a podium finish for Ellen McDermott, taking 3rd place in the COTC race in Stirling.

Members of the men’s team enjoyed some warm weather training in Spain and Kyle Whitfield secured a fantastic top 20 finish in the Tour of Malta, before Russell Wright and Luke Wilkinson secured their first podium places of the season with 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the Middlesbrough Race Circuit Cat. 4 outing on 28th March.

Team WattCycle, Integrated Wellbeing, Spanish training camp

Spanish training camp, Alicante

Angela Hibbs, Team WattCycle, Integrated Wellbeing

Angela Hibbs, Capernwray winner

March closed in a wet and windy Lancashire for the THR Racing and Lancaster Cycling Club Capernwray Road Races. On the first of four laps, Team WattCycle’s Angela Hibbs and Aspire HSS Hire’s Amy Gornall broke away to forge a substantial lead which they held for the remainder of the 52km race, with Angela taking the win in a tense final sprint.

This was an excellent performance against a quality field including ex-GB junior world championships team member Amy Gornall, last year’s winner Jo Blakeley and multiple national hill climb champion Lynn Hamel in 2nd, 3rd and 4th places respectively

Jennifer Batey finished a creditable 10th, with other team members in the top 20, suggesting that the Team WattCycle women have an exciting season ahead of them.

Check back for more next month!

Yoga For Sport: Bend It Like… Wiggins!


If you enjoy playing sport at any level, then I truly believe that yoga has something to offer you.

After the widely publicised inclusion of yoga into their regular training regime by the likes of Ryan Giggs (professional footballer, Manchester United and Wales), Andy Murray (professional tennis player, former Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medallist) and Bradley Wiggins (professional cyclist, 2012 Tour de France winner), along with a host of other elite-level athletes, many of the yoga sceptics have been silenced.

And it’s not just a few individual sports men and women who have adopted the practice. World-class coaches and managers of football teams such as the 2014 Premiership Champions, Manchester City, and recent high-fliers Southampton FC and West Ham United have all seen fit to introduce yoga to their players, as have those working with the likes of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team and various Olympic coaches in disciplines ranging from swimming to weightlifting.

So what are the benefits to us mere mortals who perhaps enjoy a weekly game of tennis, a regular round of golf or a session of mountain biking or road cycling?

For many of us, the key advantages of incorporating some regular yoga into our general wellbeing regime include:

  • Optimized movement and increased flexibility
  • Increased core strength/stability
  • Improved posture
  • Better relaxation strategies
  • Increased protection from injury
  • Improved breath control
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Sharper focus

No-one will promise that yoga can transform you from a keen amateur or enthusiastic club competitor into a world beater, but it will increase your chances of staying fitter for longer, avoiding some of those niggling aches and pains, and recovering from minor injuries a little bit faster. And with the increased flexibility and core stability that yoga brings, you have every chance of improving your overall performance level in whatever sport you enjoy.

Chrissie Tarbitt, Cyclist's Lunge

Cyclist’s Lunge

The use of breathing techniques in yoga also helps us make that all-important mind/body connection; when we’re in the flow of our yoga postures, we use the breath to keep us focused, offering instant access to the “rest and digest” part of our autonomic nervous system. The more relaxed and focused we are on the mat, the more energy we conserve for the times when we really need it off the mat!

Back to Ryan Giggs: “My body feels so much better having done the yoga … I still get the odd hamstring strain, which you are going to get playing football, but it wasn’t about curing the problem, but making it less frequent. I wish I had done it from the start of my career.”

Over the coming months here at the Integrated Wellbeing site, we’ll take a look at some specific postures and series that can help those of you playing a particular sport enjoy it just that little bit more. And as we’re one of the main 2015 sponsors of current North East champions, the Team WattCycle road-cycling team, cycling is likely to be near the top of that list!

I currently teach two yoga classes each week at the Ocean Physio and Rehab Clinic at Woodbury near Exeter. The Ocean team has experience of working with those suffering from various sporting injuries, including members of the Exeter Chiefs rugby union team, the English golf team and the Devon cricket team, as well as a number of elite-level sports men and women and Olympic competitors. More information about my current class schedule and the Ocean team’s expertise can be found at

I believe that incorporating a regular yoga practice into your schedule can increase both your enjoyment of your favourite sports and your level of performance.

And for those of you who are interested in exploring the role of yoga in sport more deeply, there are now numerous yoga teachers across the UK (and the rest of the world) who offer expertise via classes and courses specifically aimed at sports people. Head over to Google now to find a class in your area, and let me know in the comments section below how you get on!

Oh, and guys, in case you hadn’t realised, this one is definitely for you too. I’m seeing more and more men turning up to classes and they all come back for more ☺. So, if in doubt, banish thoughts of lycra and getting yourself stuck in some pretzel shape and find a class and teacher that suit you.

With love and wellbeing wishes,

Team WattCycle

Team Wattcycle

Here at Integrated Wellbeing, we’re proud to be one of the main sponsors of both the men’s and women’s road racing cycling teams at Team WattCycle for the 2015 season.

We hope you’ll share our support for them as the season unfolds and we’ll be posting regular updates on the site and through social media throughout the year.

The team are still the new kids on the block, having formed in time for the 2014 season, initially to compete in the men’s North East regional series as Manilla Cycling. With a combination of single-mindedness and enthusiasm, music PR guru Tony McDonagh got a small group of fellow cyclists together to practice on dark, wet November nights and persuaded them to form a team. There was nothing to lose. 12 months later, as North East Regional Champions and with a brand new women’s team joining the group under the watchful eye of experienced international rider Karen Poole, the group has both a national and a regional team and expectations are considerably higher.

“It’s fair to say plenty of people in the region couldn’t wait to see us fail and our debut at the Croft Race Circuit only served to fuel other teams’ laughter aimed at the team. Riders who knew nothing of us quickly dismissed us.” Tony McDonagh, Team Manager

After a bleak opening day with just a single 34th place finish in the All Category race and an 8th place in the lower-level Category 4 group, the team had registered a mere 2 points. On the Monday after the race Tony arrived in the office to an email from the head of a rival team mocking them. His words became the best possible team talk!

IW_cyclingshorts1 IW_WC_girls_podium2







Out of adversity, the team spirit grew in leaps and bounds. Minds were focused. Training increased. From hearing Tony’s account of that first season and following their progress as a supporter, I sense that they were helped, perhaps without knowing it, by one of the cornerstones of mindfulness: being present in the moment. Earlier race results didn’t matter. What might happen in future races (and at the season end) didn’t matter. Nothing was expected of them save for being fully focused on the race, moment by moment.

I’m looking forward to joining up with the team soon to underpin the idea of mindfulness helping athletes to focus on the job in hand; and now that former Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, has stressed the importance of yoga to his training, I’m hoping to persuade a few of them to roll out a mat too!

I’ll be posting more about yoga for those of you who participate in sport at all levels over coming months, starting with “Yoga For Sport: Bend It Like Wiggins” here in the Integrated Wellbeing Body Matters resources.

Read more about the guys and girls of Team Wattcycle at and the Manilla Cycling Club at

And hear me chatting with Team Manager, Tony McDonagh, and Head Coach, Adam Brooks, on the “On Yer Bike” radio show podcast Volume 4 at

Now … time to oil that chain and dust off that saddle!

With love and wellbeing wishes,