Cycling is perhaps one of the more pleasant outdoor activities during the summer months here in the UAE. Creating your own breeze as you make your way around Al Qudra at sunrise means that there’s a cooling effect that doesn’t quite come with other pursuits such as running.
If you’ve been cycling hard recently, either indoors or outdoors, it’s important that you take care of yourself in order to stave off injury and maintain mobility. Today, our yoga expert Tegan Fern discusses her favourite yoga poses for cyclists. With instructions and pictures provided below, there’s really no excuse to avoid giving at least some of these a try. We hope that you find them beneficial!
Yoga Poses For Cyclists
As the weather will soon be cooling down, many of us will be getting those bicycles out and taking them down to one of Dubai’s many cycle tracks. Cycling is a great type of exercise which has many benefits. However, as with many high-intensity exercises, if we do not cool down and stretch properly we will be stiff for days due to delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). So with this in mind, I have picked my top stretches to do post-cycling to help you combat that next day stiffness. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or longer to really get into the muscle tissue.
Downward Facing Dog
I recommend downward facing dog for everything! It is an amazing pose which stretches all the way from the calves up to the wrists. You do not need to have straight legs – the most important thing in this pose is to aim to have a straight spine. I like to advise my clients to have their chest towards the thighs so they are straight, and then to begin to straighten the legs. Ensure your hands are spread nicely and you are distributing your weight evenly, not dumping into the wrists.
Upward Facing Dog
When cycling, you lean forwards towards the handlebars. Being in this flexed position for a prolonged period of time can have negative effects on the spine, so it is important that we compensate for this and extend that spine too. During this pose, you want to have your shoulders over your wrists and you are pushing your chest forwards and up, not just dumping into the lower (lumbar) spine. Your legs and abdominals should be engaged to help protect the spine.
Anyone who has participated in a spinning class will know what I mean when I talk about the quad burn! Our quadriceps are one of the main muscle groups working to turn those pedals so it is especially important to stretch those. I love a low lunge for this, as it is accessible for all. Make sure your front knee is over the ankle and not past your toe, as you do not want to damage the knee by over shooting it.
Figure of Four / Thread the Needle
Another large muscle group that works hard when you are cycling are the glutes. These can be stretched in a number of ways. The pose you do and how far you take it will depend upon your current flexibility.
Figure of Four: This is a standing pose. You may need something to hold onto for stability. Cross one ankle over the other lower thigh. Begin to bend the standing leg until you feel the stretch. Try to keep those hips even!
Thread the needle: Lay on your back with your feet planted on the floor and legs bent. Lift one leg and cross the ankle over the lower thigh Then reach through and grab the other leg and pull gently towards you.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
This is a twisting pose that opens the shoulders, which can help release any tension in the back, especially if you have been cycling for a long time! Sit with your legs out in front of you, bend your right leg and then place the foot on the outside of the left leg. Place your right arm directly behind you close to your spine, and then hook your left elbows on the outside of the right leg. If you have tight hamstrings or if sitting on the floor is not accessible for you, feel free to sit on a blanket or block to help.