I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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Have recently been told not to stretch before rides but to keep stretching after. I now do a spin in low gear for ten mins then get into my ride.Stretch for about 15 mins when i get back.
What do you guys and girls do?
I don't stretch before a ride, but just take it easy for the first 5-10mins as you've been told.
However if I don't stretch after a solid 1hr+ ride then my recovery is hindered severely. Last thursday I was so busy after a ride it took me days to recover where it would normally take overnight or 24hours. I am much more prone to cramping if I don't stretch afterwards and genereally feel like $hit if I leave it too long after the ride.
I'm 35 so age probably has something to do with the importance of stretching, but it's something thats vital to my recovery even on the 1hour commutes.
I have to stretch the calves before I go otherwise I'll be prone to cramping. I do stretch afterwards too.
It'd be interesting to see the kinds of stretches other do (for the benefit of others here).
Giant TCR SL1
Specialized Langster Pro
I've been doing yoga on-and-off for the last 14yrs or so, I'm certainly no yogi/rubber band when it comes to flexibility but I maintain a good degree of flexibility/mobility by doing yoga and other stretches/mobility exercises at least once a week. Due to my work (office-based) and my exercise types (martial arts, weight training and now cycling) I focus my routines on my legs (quads and hamstrings), hips and lower back. This has made my transition to cycling 4 or 5 times a week (25 - 30km per ride) injury/cramp free.
I'm in my early 40s.
I hope this helps.
2012 Focus Planet TR 5.0
I don't stretch before and rarely after (with any sort of routine - maybe a couple of quad stretches)...though I do want to start doing more stretching and improve my flexibility.
From the small amount I have read about this topic it is suggested that dynamic stretches/warmups be done prior to cycling that mimic a similar cycling action - jogging on the spot, skipping, step-ups or lunges etc (to get the blood flowing, raise the body temp and warm up the muscles), but static stretches should be avoided until after your ride (when your muscles are nicely warmed up).
Also, when stretching, if it is painful you're pushing too far. Continually working on your stretches should improve your flexibility and allow you to stretch further and further over time.
I read something the other day that stretching should be thought of as another type of exercise that one incorporates into their training schedule instead of treating it solely as a warm-up/warm-down routine.
2012 Felt F75 | 105 | ProLite Braccianos | GP4000S
I never stretch before a ride... If something is a bit tight or sore I will massage it a bit with heat cream before going out. Luckily I am not prone to cramping during rides... Sometimes after a very hard ride I will get a bit in calves.
I very rarely stretch straight after rides either... Usually too exhausted to bother.
But once or twice a week I will do a good stretch / core strength session focusing mainly on the hip flexors. I get very tight in my hips and butt and it certainly feels good stretching it out.
Yes I agree. I've done Pilates for a few years on and off after a back problem. I've also dabbled in Yoga but in recent weeks am doing much more yoga. It's a work out and a stretching routine.
For me it means I don't stretch before or after a ride but do yoga as much as I can through the week. Min 2 times a week, preferably every day!
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
I don't stretch nor do I use my foam roller (it hurts )
However my legs and hips are killing me at the moment and I feel that my legs and hips being tight are contributing to my back becoming sore *again*
Personal anecdote. I used to see a chiropractor once a month for a recurring back pain. After each session I'd feel great but four weeks later I needed to visit him again. I then saw an oesteopath three times and my back pain vanished. It was determined that one of my legs was pulling my hip out (I dislocated my patella quite a while ago and favoured one leg leading to uneven strength)
2012 Oppy A4
Yeah but it is a nice hurt .
I don't stretch before, but like to do some ITB stretches after a ride, and quite like the hurt from the foam roller (tennis ball anyone?). Longer rides over 4hours and I will stretch my lower back and shoulders too.
I do some working and stretching for adductors, hamstrings, calves and quads during the ride and to work. The timing is purely of convenience for me - when I am off the road and waiting at the lights.
As far as reducing injury rates, there does not appear to be a great deal of evidence that stretching as a warm-up or warm-down to physical exercise does anything more than doing that stretching at some other time. That is not saying that stretching is not beneficial, only that the timing is not of great significance. You will find discussion along these lines elsewhere in this forum.
Apply some caution to stretching. From another post of my own
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
Maybe this is useful to you:
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
maybe a little far fetched but ice baths after a long rides do wonders for your muscles, I dont do ice baths per se, but I do go for a swim once im done. If its winter, the water is icy..
If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough.
I usually warm up with slower pace, mixing high and low cadence, in and out of saddle.
I do 3-4x weekday morning rides of around 35km
- ride to crit track where I stretch and do 30 pushups, 90-120sec plank, 15-20 negative horizontal pull ups.
Stretches are calf, hams, shoulder, trunk flex/ext/rot.
- ride home. total time ~1h20m.
- finish breaky or have a green smoothie.
Literally an hour of just "stretching"?
I do 5 mins max if I can be bothered though I've always wondered if I should be doing more...
FOCUS Cayo Expert
I have a stretch routine every morning and evening, concentrating on lower back and glutes. I was also told to not go through my full stretching before a ride but to be sure of doing it after. Seems to be helping.
Trek Domane 5.2
It's been proven that prolonged stretching before exercise causes a reduction in force production. Can't remember which study I'm quoting, read it awhile back.
In other words:
Light stretching (holding a stretch for for no longer than 8 secs) before exercise is fine but you SHOULD be doing a good full body stretch after to relax the muscles to help reduce venous pooling (accumulation of waste products in your muscle).
In addition, it could help increase flexibility, which is beneficial for cyclists. There are plenty of videos online that you can find. Otherwise, I'd recommend attending a bodypump class at your local gym. They do an excellent full body stretch at the end of their sessions (which I personally use and recommend).
Fitness First Personal trainer & (Unaccredited) TWA L1 Tri coach
It's all in your head.
I've been reading a few Steve Hogg blog posts, and am definitely stretching from now on. So far, 5 months of commuting 30-50km a day, and not a single stretch until this week, no issues at all. I feel great from all that excersize, but contstantly tight legs and back, etc. Steve's blog helped me decide to take strecthing and flexibility as a serious issue.
On his advice, I bought the book Flexability for Cyclists, $10 ebook. It's not rocket science, but a solid set of excersizes.
General tips from the book:
* Only stretch pre-ride if you have an injury that needs it
* Stretch post ride always, even if only a subset of their manual
* Stretches should last about 30 seconds for 2-3 sets, no need to do more
* Stretches should be 4-5 on a scale of 1-10 of pain felt while stretching, so more a gentle stretch. Steve suggests 2, so even more gentle.
+1. At least used to. At one stage when I rode heavily, post ride stretching seemed to have a preventative effect on cramps (both during and post rides). So it was a quick routine in the shower or after the dismount. No hard science to back this up but seemed to work for me. These days, I don't get cramps and no routine stretching.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Yeah, I think it was the British Army that did a study of pre-stretching and found it didn't make a difference to injury rates, which contradicted the received wisdom.
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