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9/26/11 11:26 A

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This article was written by the editors of Bicycling and Uma Kleppinger, author and creator of BikeYoga. These three stretches help offset the tightness and muscle tension that comes with long ride. Practice them daily and you will build strength and flexibility, and you can use them on short breaks during epics.

Crouching Pigeon, Hidden Firebird
Stand and cross right foot just above your left knee and flex your right ankle, pressing it lightly into your left knee. Bend your left leg until you feel a stretch in your right hip, glutes and IT band. Keeping back straight, reach your arms up to stretch your midback. Hold for 20 breaths, then switch sides and repeat.

Twisting Lunge
Step left leg forward and sink down until the knee is directly over left ankle and right knee rests behind you. Exhaling, slowly twist left, bracing your right arm against your outer right knee. Gaze over your left shoulder to stretch your neck, back, and intercostal muscles. Count out 20 slow breaths, gradually deepening the twist; switch sides.

Standing Cobra
Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back. Lift your sternum and gaze slightly upward. Breathing deeply, reach your hands back and down, straighten your elbows and continue to lift your chest. Hold for 1 minute. Repeat twice. This helps open up your back, arms, lungs and heart and reverses hours of poor on-the-bike posture.

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