Stretching - we love the idea of it, but most of us don’t do enough of it. And it’s so important. Almost as important as the actual workout! Stretching has many benefits including increasing flexibility and range of motion, improving our performance, and reducing stress. Here are a few of our favorite post-class stretches. Each stretch should be held for about 30 seconds on each side.
Lower Back Stretch
Keeping your knees pointed forward, sit up tall and slowly twist to one side and hold that position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Keeping your shoulders relaxed and down, bring your place your arms behind your back at waist level and clasp your hands together. Gently lift your arms straight up behind you a few inches without straining your shoulders. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your chest, then release.
Bringing your right arm across your torso at chest level, place your left palm on your right elbow and pull it toward your chest. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
Bend your right elbow as you lift your right arm up next to your head, resting your fingers on your upper back between your shoulder blades. Then, bring your left arm up and bring your left arm to your right elbow. Gently press down on your right elbow until you feel a stretch in your right tricep. Hold that position for 15 to 30 seconds, then release and repeat with the left arm.
While still clipped in or your feet in cages, bring your feet to a stop parallel to the floor with your heels down and toes angled up. As you do, lean forward hinging at the waist with a flat back and grip the ends of your handlebars, dropping your elbows to the bar. Shift your hips back over the saddle and lengthen your spine. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side by bringing the opposite foot in front.
From a seated position, grip the ends of the handlebars and stand up out of the saddle bringing your hips towards the handlebars and pointing your toes towards the floor. As you hold this stretch pull your shoulders down away from the ears and look up towards the ceiling. Sink into this stretch for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side bringing the opposite foot in front.
Place one foot on middle of bike bar (depending on your flexibility you can go all the way to the seat). Lean into the stretch for at least 30 seconds and then do the same for the other leg.
Place the ball of your right foot on the base of your bike (a nearby stair will work too). Gently lower your right heel toward the floor feeling the stretch in your calf. Lengthen your right leg, but don't lock your knee. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the left leg.
Place one hand on the handlebars and use the other to pull in the foot of your opposite leg. Hold for at least 30 seconds for each leg.
Cross one foot over the opposite thigh so that your body makes the shape of a number four. Use the bike for support and stretch for at least 30 seconds on each side.