4. UPPER TRAP STRETCH
What it helps: Because of the bent-over position common in road cycling, the upper trapezius can become fatigued from the constant contraction needed to hold up the head. This stretch will help to loosen the muscles, which run from the base of the skull along the back of the neck to the upper shoulders.
The stretch: Sit in a chair with your head in a neutral position, and place your left hand behind your left hip. Place your right hand on the left side of your head, and apply gentle downward pressure, bringing your right ear toward your right shoulder. If you want to isolate the stretch higher in the neck, slightly rotate your chin toward your right shoulder.
Reps: Hold for 10–15 seconds, and repeat 3–4 times on each side.
5. REVOLVED BELLY POSE
How it helps: Lower back stiffness and pain are common complaints among cyclists, particularly after long or hard efforts. This stretch will help you relieve those symptoms by releasing tension in the lumbar spine.
The stretch: Start on your back with the knees bent. Stretch your arms straight out by your sides. Bring your knees into your chest, then lower them slowly to the right side. If you cannot lower your knees all the way to the floor, place a pillow on the floor, and allow your knees to rest there. Repeat on the opposite side. As you feel your lower back begin to loosen, you can increase the stretch by extending your lower legs so that your feet reach toward your outstretched hand after you’ve lowered your knees.
Reps: Hold for 20–30 seconds, and repeat 3–4 times on each side.
6. LUNGE AND REACH
What it helps: Another core muscle, the iliopsoas, can become tight from aggressive riding styles and the upstroke during the pedaling motion. This stretch will help to relieve tension on the front side of your hips.
How: Lunge your left leg, and put your right knee on the ground. Keep your back straight, and lift your right arm straight up in the air, reaching for the ceiling. Twist your torso away from the knee you’re kneeling on. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm.
Reps: Hold for 20–30 seconds, and repeat 3–4 times with each leg