By – STEFAN GRECU
Yoga is great for cyclists to help improve flexibility and also for core strength. NAMASTE will show you two yoga poses each issue geared specifically for cyclists, so you can build a yoga practice into your schedule.
CHEST OPENER WITH STRAP
Riders can develop some tightness in the chest from supporting the upper body while cycling, so this stretch is a great way to open the chest and relieve any tightness. If you have shoulder issues, go to a wall or corner, extend your arm placing your hand on the wall or corner, and turn away to stretch the chest. Otherwise, get a strap, climbing rope, broomstick, resistance band, towel, or any item that you can hold comfortably and wide. Place your feet firmly and shoulder-width apart. Grab your item on either end, not too narrow and not at your max span. Take your arms above your head and begin to let them fall behind you, remembering to activate your core and tuck the tail bone, which will protect your lower back. Feel the stretch in your chest, the deltoids, and biceps. Hold for approximately 20 seconds and gently bring your arms overhead and to the front. Repeat 2 – 3 times, or as many times as necessary.
The frequently recognized downward dog pose is fantastic for cyclists, helping to open the chest and stretch the hamstrings. Begin standing with your feet firmly planted and shoulder-width apart, inhale and lift your arms overhead, exhale and fold forward taking your arms towards the ground. Step your feet back into a high-plank, activate your core, and keep your arms directly beneath your shoulders while settling into them and not bubbling the upper-back or sagging the lower back. This is an effective core pose, so feel free to maintain this pose for slightly longer to build strength. Begin pointing your hips toward the ceiling and back, settle into the shoulders, relax the head and neck, and feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your triceps rotated down toward the ground to keep your shoulders away from your ears. Remember to direct your hips toward the back of the room, and keep your hands firmly planted with your fingers actively “grabbing” into the floor. Pedal your legs by bending one knee at a time to stretch the calves and feel the different benefits of the pose. Hold the pose for at least 5 long breaths, exhale and step forward taking your time to come out of the pose. Inhale slowly while starting to stand and repeat the sequence if desired. Visit an introductory yoga class to learn more about the sequence and more poses to help your cycling.