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11 Stretches Every Spinner Needs to Do After Class

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    Why Stretching Matters

    Indoor cyclists, particularly those who train regularly, are known for their cardiovascular fitness, phenomenal power output, and incredibly strong thighs. But when it comes to flexibility, well, most of us are lacking—unless we put in the time to stretch properly.

    It's easy to understand why when you consider what riding a bike entails—a repetitive action performed through a limited range of motion, where the legs are neither fully extended or fully flexed. Your joints are never taken through their full range of motion, but they're used vigorously throughout, which creates a pretty big need for stretching.

    Research shows that dynamic stretching is great before you hop on a bike (or bust out any workout, really). Sustained, static stretches after your workout increase flexibility in the tissue by holding the position in a minimally challenging way for 30 to 60 seconds—don't push to the point of pain, rather just enough so you can feel it. Doing it after your workout is key: Research shows that doing static stretches prior to a workout can actually inhibit the muscle's ability to fire, making your workout less effective.

    So next time you hop off the bike, take the time to move through these stretches that'll soothe the muscles you just put through the maximum torque.

  • Peter Ardito

    Calf Stretch

    Once you're off the indoor cycling bike, head to a nearby wall and try this calf stretch.

    • Stand facing a wall with toes pointing forward.
    • Place your hands flat against the wall at shoulder height.
    • Bring one leg behind you, then place the foot flat on the floor (making sure your toes are still pointed straight forward).
    • Slowly lean forward over your front leg, but keep your back knee straight and your heel flat on the floor. You should feel the stretch in the big muscle of your calf (known as your gastrocnemius).
    • After holding for a few seconds, bend your back knee slightly, keeping your foot flat on the floor. You'll feel the stretch lower down your calf, in the soleus.
    • Hold for a total of 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
  • Peter Ardito

    Lower Back and IT Band Stretch

    The psoas muscle (in your spine and pelvis) and the iliotibial band (IT band) get overworked in an indoor cycling class. If you don't show them some love, it can lead to a loss of power and poor function on the bike, not to mention tightness and pain in your lower back, hamstrings, and knees. Do this stretch to get some relief.

    • Lying flat on your back, place the sole of your right foot on your left thigh.
    • Grasp your right knee with your left hand and gently roll it to the left.
    • Try to get your knee as close to the floor as possible without your right shoulder leaving the floor. Make sure you're not pushing too hard—when you start to feel resistance, that's the position you should hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
    • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Peter Ardito

    Groin Stretch

    Stretch your adductor muscles and your glutes all at once by stepping out into this pose.

    • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward. (For a deeper stretch, increase the distance between your feet.)
    • Gradually shift all your weight to your right leg by pushing your butt back and bending your right knee. Your left leg stays straight.
    • Place both hands on your right knee for support.
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Peter Ardito

    Frog Stretch

    An alternate groin stretch, this move will help you deepen your squat and loosen up those hips.

    • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Point your toes out and lower into a squat as far as you can while keeping your heels flat on the floor.
    • Press your knees open with your elbows.
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Peter Ardito

    Figure Four Glute Stretch

    You'll feel this stretch across your glutes and into your hip flexor, all while honing your balance.

    • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, cross the right ankle over your left knee as you rotate your right hip outward, creating a "4" with your legs.
    • Send your hips back as you lower toward the floor, trying to get your glutes parallel to the ground.
    • Press against your right knee with your hand or elbow to deepen the stretch through your butt.
      • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Peter Ardito

    Hip Flexor Stretch with a Tilt

    A step up from the regular figure four, this adds a forward tilt so your thighs and hip flexors get an extra-good stretch.

    • Standing upright, draw one ankle to the same glute. At the same time, tilt forward for an additional quadriceps stretch.
    • Drawing the heel to glute on each side counts as one rep. Complete 15 reps.
  • Peter Ardito

    Quad Stretch

    Pro tip: Standing on either side of the saddle with your toes pointed toward the handlebars makes this stretch super effective. Not only will you feel it in your thighs (those powerful quads), but you'll also get a nice stretch through the hips.

    • Gently place your right hand on the handlebars and shift your weight into your right leg as you kick your left heel toward your left glute. Your left knee should be pointed toward the floor.
    • With your left hand, grasp the outside of the foot and pull in toward your glute, keeping your hips square.
    • To work on balance, keep your core tight and raise your right hand toward the ceiling.
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
  • Peter Ardito

    Lying Hamstring Stretch

    Whether you're on a bed or the floor, giving your leg a supported stretch can help calm tight hamstrings. Pro tip: Relax into the stretch so your muscles don't tighten up. They don't need another workout!

    • Lie on your back at the corner of your bed (where it is the firmest), making sure that your tailbone is at the edge of the bed and your lower back is flat against the mattress.
    • Grab your left leg at your hamstring and gently pull your leg toward your chest.
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Tipover Tuck

    A good stretch for your hamstrings and tight shoulders, this move pulls double duty for the joints that feel the pressure during your ride.

    • Standing with feet hip-width apart, interlace your hands behind your back.
    • Keeping your legs straight, bend over at the hips. Tucking your chin (keep your neck relaxed), bring your hands up toward the ceiling.
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then slowly roll up to standing.
    • If the stretch is too intense, release your hands and place them on the backs of your thighs.
  • Hurdler Stretch

    You may have done this basic stretch back in high school, but it's perfect for targeting one leg at a time when your hamstrings are really calling out for some R&R.

    • Sit on the floor with your left leg straight. Bend the right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.
    • Slowly fold over your left leg, keeping your back straight and reaching for your foot (it's okay to grab your calf or hamstring too, just go as far as you can reach to feel the stretch).
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Forward Bend

    Loosen both hamstrings and stretch that lower back to counteract any hunching you did while on the bike.

    • Sit on the floor, extending both legs straight out in front of you, legs together.
    • Pull your belly in and fold your torso over your thighs, gently rounding the back and reaching for your toes. (It's okay to reach for your calves too, just go as far as you can reach to feel the stretch.)
    • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

 

Samantha Lefave

Samantha is a writer who is living, eating and sweating her way through NYC. You can find her running half-marathons like it's her job, Instagramming her favorite food and fitness finds or, let's be honest, eating peanut butter straight from the jar.

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