I was wandering the expanses of the t’interwebs yesterday and came across this article on the TrainingPeaks website.
In it, they give 5 stretches they recommend that cyclists perform after a ride.
This topic is obviously of great interest to their customers, since it was voted The Most Popular Article of 2018 – Awesome!
And as industry standard information goes, it’s a pretty good article – but when it comes to stresses and strains on the body, this advice is actually causing more harm than good (as is the same advice given in millions of similar articles across the world) – and here’s why:
1. The stretches are in the same direction of movement as the activity of cycling but muscles don’t function in just one direction of movement, even in a seemingly fixed position activity such as cycling. The body is constantly reacting to changes in balance, bike position, terrain (like stones and bumps in the road), which means the muscles are working in lots of different directions. A failure to address this during the stretching routine allows muscles to stay shortened in some directions and not others, causing strain and eventually injury.
2. There’s no movement in the stretch, which does nothing to unwind the excessively tightened spiral in the muscle tissue, making little change to the length of the tissue.
3. With the exception of one (the couch stretch) the stretches are symptom based which actively encourages the muscles on the front of the body that get tight and short with cycling to stay tight and short (hip flexors and pecs are just a couple of examples).
4. If a cyclist has a very tight body, actually holding themselves on some of these positions to be able to achieve a stretch may actually be hard work, which creates MORE tension in the areas that are too tight and short in the first place
Now, I’m all for combining stretches to be more time-effective, but we need to make sure we’re directing them at the most appropriate areas first!
For a MUCH quicker, far more effective stretching routine, don’t forget to check out my FREE Hip Flexors 5 Ways Video