Cyclists, Time on the Mat Means Longer on the Road

indexWhy should road cyclists? They don’t require the flexibility of dancers, golfers or tennis players. There’s no leaping, twisting or lunging in cycling, just hours spent locked in a flexed position craning the head to gaze forwards.

I may have answered my own question but the simple answer is comfort. Most cyclists are all too familiar with nagging lower backache. It can cut short a ride or even force riders off their bikes and on to the physio’s couch.

The discomfort might be higher, around the trapezius or neck muscles as the upper body is braced for long periods over the handlebars. Or lower, as the glutes or quads contract and shorten after hours of hard pedaling.

Road cycling is a rush. There is no feeling in the world like having the wind in your face on a cold, crisp sunny day as the fields fly by. But a body held in the cycling stance needs regular rebalancing to maintain comfort and prevent injury.

The obvious benefit of yoga is to stretch out tight hamstrings, glutes or quads in order to both avoid injury and create a level of riding comfort. By restoring muscle length cyclists can ‘reset’ the body and feel fresh and ready to ride again.

But that’s not the whole story. Here’s four more reasons why 20 minutes of yoga, two or three times a week, will keep cyclists riding stronger, for longer:

1. Spinal Extension – Yoga’s gentle backbends ease the spine from the flexed cycling position into extension. Backbends also open the front of the body, stretching the chest, or pectoral muscles that shorten over time while riding. Think Sphinx pose, though, rather than Wheel and monitor the back carefully.

2. Lateral Movement – Cyclists operate in a forwards-only or sagittal plane of motion and strive for upper body stillness. This often leads to tightness in the stabilizing muscles of the outer hips as well as the IT band. Lateral, or sideways movements like Triangle provide a deeply satisfying stretch.

3. Lower Back Relief – Sinking into Extended Child’s Pose, post-ride will ease out the lower back (and shoulder) muscles. Add some strengthening postures like Locust in between rides to reinforce the lumbar region, an area vulnerable to injury in the cycling stance.

4. Core Strength – A strong core is vital for posture, power, injury prevention and comfort. Most road cyclists have weak…

 

Article sourced from: http://www.myyogaonline.com/about-yoga/learn-about-yoga/yoga-for-cyclists-why-time-on-the-mat-means-longer-on-the-road?utm_source=MYO+May+03+2014+Non-Paying+NL&utm_campaign=ALL&utm_medium=email

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