Loosening Tight Legs?

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Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby Queestce » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Hey all,

I've recently been diagnosed as one of the lucky few with overly tight hamstrings, quads, and glutes. I also found out my hip flexors are a little weak. Now, I'm hoping to recitfy these issues, but I'm a bit lost as to where to start...

I was going to schedule a physio appointment to discuss it and make a training plan, but I'm a poor student ( :P ), and I am sure a lot of riders on here have had experience with similar issues. I am already doing a "workout" every two days for my upper body. Nothing major, just 3 sets of chinups, pushups, and leg raises. I have read that the leg raises are good for improving hip flexor strength?... Will 3 sets of about 20 reps of leg raises every couple of days be enough to build up more strength in the flexors, or should I be doing something more targeted/frequent?

As for the tight muscles, I know they need to be stretched! But how much/how often? There are so many bloody exercises for tight hammys and quads on the net it is quite overwhelming. I was kind of hoping I could just tack some stretches (or whatever is required) onto the end of my regular 2 day workout, but I really have NO idea if stretching every couple of days is too much, or not enough to help loosen the muscles. And likewise, I'm not really sure what the most effective exercises would actually be to help loosen the hamstrings, quads, and glutes. There isn't some sort of magic exercise which can help all three at once is there 8) Is the best practice to do "sets" of stretches, or do you only need to do one good long stretch?... Probably sounds silly, but I've never even considered it before so I'm a little confused as to how is best to go about it...

If anyone has any insight about any of this I'd love to hear it! Otherwise I guess it's off to the physio again :cry:



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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby foo on patrol » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:18 am

If they are tight all the time, then you need too be stretching every day! The physio I saw a couple of years
ago said, the reps of eight should be held for a minute, not the usual ten seconds that everyone seems to think is the norm. :wink:

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby liamb » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:45 am

I am in the same boat, tight hammies, calves, etc. My Physio is often laughing at how tight I am :( I understand you are a poor student but there are different degrees of tight and some stretches can cause other issues due to complimentary muscle groups. I know it took 3 different sets of different stretches to find something that would help me and anyway I have been told by 3 physio's and a doctor that some people are just tight full stop and no amount of stretching will have you folding yourself into a box :lol: I am way better than I was but if I miss 2 days in a row of stretching I am in trouble. Best to get professional advice rather than "it worked for me so it must work for you"

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby karenmcfarlane » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:08 pm

I've had the same problem. One of the things that helped is taking whey after my rides. It is a great source of easy to absorb protein and it helps tissue re-generation. Make sure you get a natural one made from milk that is from grass fed cow and antibiotic free. Synthetic ones can be bad for you in the long run. Hope that helped.

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby Kenzo » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:04 pm

foo on patrol wrote:If they are tight all the time, then you need too be stretching every day! The physio I saw a couple of years
ago said, the reps of eight should be held for a minute, not the usual ten seconds that everyone seems to think is the norm. :wink:


Yep... stretching everyday.
Ten seconds... then extend further(!).. another ten seconds.. and again.. take a pause, or do the other leg or muscle group....


Invest 30 minutes a day...

I only manage 15 minutes, but it may actually be working. Until I over exert myself again without warming up.

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:14 pm

Exactly my problem...so tight a while ago I couldn't touch my knees :oops: .
I find my stretching has the most effect when I am hot...so I do it during or straight after a ride (but not after a really hard ride too much if I have sore muscles).If I am not riding then after a very hot bath.
Don't stretch to the point of pain...don't even stretch to the point of any thing more than mild discomfort.Better to hold a point of mild discomfort for a minute or so than 10 secs in a painful position.
My biggest issue is my psoas...bloody hard to stretch well!.

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby pagey » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:12 pm

I have tight hip flexors and need to stretch every night - just do it whilst watching TV.

The best thing I did was invest in a foam roller and roll out the hips/quads/hammys 2-3 times a week.


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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby factory » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:29 pm

My physio recently also told me to be holding the stretches fro >1 minute which is a real change from all previosu advice where i thought 10 secs was enough. Has there been some change in thought in this area? Or do different physios just think differently?

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby vander » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:38 pm

The problem is there is no real evidence to prove that stretching is effective at lengthening muscles (although it does prevent shortening). Prolonged position (read stretching for many hours) can stretch a muscle. There is talk of stretching muscles for 30min + to get good effects. The facts are they have no study proving stretching works (although it is common belief it does). I have always been told to hold it for atleast 20-30seconds and this is what we are taught. Probably more 30sec-1min is optimum. The key is to use the muscle in the new lengthened range (or so they think). Even light evercise such as kicking the knee out will work just some sort of activity in that new range. Think of the sports with really flexible people such as dancing they are forever using the muscle in the lengthened range this is how it is meant to actually help the muscle grow and lengthen.

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Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby scotto » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:31 pm

Low load (ie no pain) long duration (>1minute) for all muscle groups.

Google will direct you as to how

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby lethoso » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:42 pm

pagey wrote:the best thing I did was invest in a foam roller and roll out the hips/quads/hammys 2-3 times a week.

if you're a cheapskate an empty winebottle does a reasonable job, or half an old foam camping mat rolled up.

Back when I was stupid enough to try running, rolling my calves was the only thing that gave me any decent relief.

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby Joelzeb » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:13 am

Phsyio Roller!! $50. so good for tight muscles esp Hamstring. You will not regret it.

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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:21 am

I'm no physio and i'm not saying this will work for everyone, but i had problems with my calves cramping after almost every ride. I saw a letter in Bicycling Australia asking about self massage and the reply suggested alternating hot and cold water on the legs at the end of a shower. I tried that and didn't notice a difference, until i thought 'i can reach my legs, why not massage them with my hands'. Now it's a habit that i lather up my legs and give them a quick rub down (maybe 1:30 at most) and since i started doing that i haven't cramped ONCE.
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Re: Loosening Tight Legs?

Postby Sweeper59 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:44 am

If started a thread in 'Cycling Health' earlier this year in regard to 'Back Pain from Lack of Stretching'. Like a number of others, I have been building up my leg muscles by cycling (after 20+ years of football) but wasn't stretching enough. It resulted in lower back pain that kept me off the bike for 3 weeks. At the time, I didn't realise the cause, and neither did my GP who sent me for a number of test. However, a physio friend saw the problem, and fixed me in a 60 minute stretching session. As a Level 2 trainer, I thought I understood a fair bit about preparing athletes, especially stretching and avoiding injury. However, my physio stretched me further than I thought possible.

I would recommend a visit to a physio, and ask his/her advice on what stretches to do, how often and how far to stretch.
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