Doing a cooldown routine after a rigorous bike ride (whether on a stationary bike or on the road) is key for your body's recovery. But too many cyclists just hop off the bike and move on without carving out a few minutes to take care of themselves for the long run.
You might skip your cooldown if you aren't exactly sure what you should be doing. Here, physical therapist Daniel Giordano, DPT, PT, C.S.C.S. of Bespoke Treatments and trainer Vaughn Gray, NASM-CPT show off a series of movements that are specifically targeted for what cyclists need after a long ride. Watch the video above to review the quick series of moves in-depth and keep reading for an overview of the routine.
Benefits of a Post-Bike Ride Cooldown
●You'll recover from your ride faster than without one
●Helps your body relax to calm your nervous system
●Decreases your heart rate
●Good for your trunk, hips, and lower body
●Your body will be in better shape to ride again sooner
The Cycling Cooldown Series
This movement focuses on back extension. The main goal is to stretch through your abdomen since most of the time you cycle, you’re holding your body forward for the duration of the ride, says Giordano (he calls this "kyphotic posture"). Do 10 reps on each side holding, each stretch for 10 seconds each.
This stretch opens up your hips and pecs. “So after that post-cycling ride, we want to make sure that we're breathing better, we’re more open through [the chest], and that we're more open through the hips as well, because of the continuous cycling that's occurring during your ride,” says Giordano. Do 10 reps on each side and hold each for a couple of seconds before moving on to the other side.
As Giordano explains, the brettzel stretch is a great way to get your hips, quads, and the anterior aspect of your chest opened up as you stretch. Giordano likes to hold these for repetitions about 10 second holds.
Downward Dog Calf Pedal
Ready to provide sweet, sweet relief for your calves? Hold these for five to ten seconds on each pedal and do eight to 10 reps on each side. “We want to make sure that there's decreased tension here and improved flexibility,” Giordano says.
Giordano notes that this move can be a tad tricky, so watch carefully to learn how to get into this position. He offers two different approaches; pick the one that is more comfortable for you. Hold for ten seconds, then release. Repeat for eight to 10 reps on each side. This pose is essential for loosening up your quads, explains Giordano.
“Let your body relax, calming your nervous system leaving that heightened state, decreasing your heart rate, and then we're going to get into the stretch,” said Giordano of this swift series. “These stretches will focus on your trunk, your hips and your entire lower body. It will help you recover post-ride and get you ready for your next cycling adventure.”
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