Have you noticed a little niggle in your knee while pedaling your bike this summer? Maybe a clicking in your hip or slight back discomfort is keeping you from riding? Well fear not, because these 3 stretches will keep your body happy and healthy. And you can perform them anywhere.
Standing Quad Stretch
Hold on to your handlebars with the hand closest to your bike. Bend your knee and grab your foot or ankle with free hand on same side. Extend your upper leg behind you to find a gentle stretch in the front of your thigh. Don’t try to touch heel to bum because that will only hurt your knee. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds, and repeat as needed.
Figure 4 Stretch
Face your bike, hold the seat with one hand, grab the handlebar grip nearest you with the other. Cross the right ankle just above the left knee, then squat until you feel a nice stretch in the outer left hip. Keep the right foot flexed up to protect the right knee, maintain balance by holding on to your bike. Hold for 30-60 seconds, and repeat as needed.
Forward Fold and With a Bend
To stretch out a tight back and hamstrings, this stretch is delightful, but must be performed with care! Begin standing, avoid locking knees, and cross your arms “I Dream of Jeannie” style. Keep the knees soft, the back straight, and bend over at the waist until you feel a comfy stretch. Hang out in this position for 30-60s, and be sure to engage your core when returning to standing, bending your knees to assist if needed.
If you want to target the right or left side of the low back, try this. Once you have folded forward, maintain the level of your torso, and side bend away from the side you want to stretch. Don’t rotate or twist. If you are stretching the left side, use your left elbow as a guide, and dial it from 9 o’clock to 12 o’clock by bending the torso to the right. Always return to neutral before standing back up.
Stretches should always feel good, and should never be painful. If you find the position uncomfortable, back out of it, re-adjust, and find the sweet spot. You can always use a bench on the trail or a chair at home to stretch anywhere and everywhere and keep riding!
Guest Contributor, Samantha Welter, MS, ACT. Sam is an athletic trainer and co-founder of the Sugar Beets Cycling team. She resides here in Fort Collins and can be found either ripping up the single track or finding new, innovative ways to get more women and girls on mountain bikes.