Cycling is gaining popularity in health and fitness circles, and for good reason. It is an awesome cardiovascular work out, as well as being a great strength-building exercise for the whole body.
Cycling is also really practical, as it can get you from point A to point B without using any fossil fuels, and it is a great way to sneak in a workout on your commute. That said, there are some yoga poses you may want to introduce into your cycling routine to help counteract any muscle stiffness that may come from riding, and to help build strength in some of your supporting muscles to keep your body riding smoothly.
Here are my top 5 picks of yoga poses for cyclists:
1. Low Lunge
This pose is so great for those crazy tight quads that can be developed in spin class. As you are most likely aware, cycling can do a number on your hip flexors too.
Low lunge will help to gently open the entire front of your leg and hip, and will even invite space into your pelvis and lower abdomen. It is a great stretch to take after your ride, or to add to your daily yoga practice.
2. Camel Pose
Riding a bike almost always means that you will be sitting for a prolonged period of time, leaning forward over your handlebars. Depending on your bike of choice, this can mean a great deal of hunching forward, or just a little forward rounding.
Either way, your upper body is going to be in need of some opening love. Camel pose is a great posture to gently open the chest, shoulders and neck. Find your comfortable edge in this pose, and hold for at least 20-30 seconds.
3. Upward Dog
Similar to camel pose, upward facing dog pose is going to help open your chest, shoulders and neck, as well as your abdomen, hips and fronts of the legs.
This pose is essentially going to be reversing the position you are in while on the bike, helping to bring much needed balance to your body. Hang out in this pose for 20-30 seconds, rather than just flowing through it in a vinyasa for best results.
You may not think that you are in need of a squat, but sitting in this oh-so-natural-to-our-physiology position will help to gently coax the entire pelvis back into its natural position, help to open the lower back, and will give your ankles and Achilles tendon a good stretch.
Squatting will help to keep your back and hips healthy so you can continue to ride to your hearts content. See if you can build up to a 60 second hold, starting with just 10 seconds if this pose is new to you.
Lastly, no list of postures to help those who ride would be complete without a really deep hip opener! Cyclists are notorious for having tight hips and buns due to the nature of their workout, so this pose is going to be very important for you to include in your daily stretching routine.
Pigeon will help you to avoid any possible injuries that can come from having overly tight hips and will help you feel so much better in your body long-term as you continue to spin. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds on each side after each ride.
What do you like to do to balance your cycling routine? Are you going to give any of these poses a try?