Cycling Center Dallas Blog
Cycling Center Dallas Blog
Here we talk about all things cycling - training, wattage, group rides, bike rallies, triathlons, weather, coaching, coaches, nutrition, ponderings, musings, and equipment! If you have a topic or a question, send us a note and we'll try to answer for you!
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Tracy
16:20

The Best Stretches for Cyclists - Hip Flexor and Quadricep Stretch


Why we lose flexibility and why it matters
cyclingmuscles - hip flexors

Cycling and running are both very repetitive
activities. Cycling in particular works muscles for extended
 periods of time and because you are seated, from a shortened position. In addition, many of us have professional lives that require a large amount of time seated at a desk or in a vehicle. This is even more time you are putting your muscles in a shortened state.  

If this sounds like you, you may be at risk for increasing tightness in muscles that need to function at their optimal range of motion. If your range of motion or position is limited by tight muscles, it can affect everything from your swim stroke and run stride to bike position and overall posture and breathing capacity.
 
Adding in some stretches a few times per week during a cool-down or anytime during the day will help you move and feel better both on and off the bike. 

 

The Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch we will talk about today is a great one for cyclists because of the extended seated position required on the bike. If you are a runner or triathlete, this stretch is important to ensure the range of motion you need for full extension in your run stride. Triathletes in particular need to have that range of motion IMMEDIATELY after coming off the seated bike position and transitioning to the run leg. 
 

Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch


Targeted Area: The quadriceps are located in the front of the leg and from the knee to the hips. The Hip Flexors are located just above the knee up to the area just above the crease in your hip.   

This is a good stretch for cyclists because the position on the bike results in the hip flexors and front of the upper torso staying in a shortened position for much of the time.

This is a good stretch for runners, especially because mobility of the hip flexors is important for full extension during the run stride. Eliminating tightness in the shoulders and chest also creates good posture that is needed for optimal breathing during the run.

Finally, this is an even more important stretch for triathletes. Because of the time you spend on the bike, muscles that need full mobility for the run often get tight. These stretches help develop mobility in both the hip flexors and upper front torso. Both which are important for optimal run mechanics and for enhanced breathing during the running segment. 


Increase your flexibility in this area by doing the following stretch 2 -3 times for 30 seconds apiece after your ride, at the end of your day, or during an active recovery session. 


Start by kneeling down on one knee, and this may be enough to give you a good stretch.  If you don't feel it yet, elevate the back foot until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of the leg and up toward the crease between your hips and thigh.  The height you elevate your back foot when doing this stretch will depend on the flexibility you have in the front upper thigh muscles of that same leg.

504a_Hip Flexor Stretch 1_copy  504b_Hip Flexor Stretch 1  504c_Hip Flexor Stretch 1_copy

1. Kneel down in front of the suspension trainer on one knee with the other knee out in front of you, foot on the ground.  Use a pad or towel under the downed knee for comfort. You will be stretching the front of the leg of the downed knee.
2. Focus on good posture and “making yourself tall”. Reach upwards toward the ceiling with the same hand as the leg you are stretching to increase the stretch. You should feel a stretch in the upper part of the front of your thigh.
3. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
 If you don’t feel the stretch, you can elevate your back foot to make things a little more challenging.  If you are flexible enough, reach back and grab the back foot with your opposite hand. 



Here is another version that can be done on a Suspension Trainer:

1. Stand facing outwards holding one of the straps in each hand.

2. Move forward until you have tension on the straps. Reach up and extend one arm toward the ceiling and the other down towards the floor. Kneel down on the knee that’s on the same side as the raised arm.

3. Adjust your position forward or backward until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your upper thigh and in your chest area. Hold for 30 seconds on one side, and then switch sides.

Contract your abdominals during the stretch to set your hips in the correct position and prevent your back form arching. 

505a_Hip Flexor and Chest Stretch  505b_Hip Flexor and Chest Stretch  505c_Hip Flexor and Chest Stretch

  
Check out our video of the Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch to get another view and see the progressions.


 



If you enjoyed this and found it helpful, perhaps you have family, friends or training buddies who might like it too. Please feel free to forward them this email—they can opt in HERE, to get on the email list.  Also, please be sure to check out and "like" the TRX and Strength Training at Cycling Center Dallas Facebook Page.  

Check the class schedule if you would like to take a Small Group Strength or Performance Cycling Class. You can also contact me directly by replying to this email to come in for an individual session, get some instruction, or just learn some new things. 

Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Tracy Christenson
Cycling and Resistance Training Coach
Cycling Center Dallas
214 773 6503
www.cyclingcenterdallas.com

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Tracy
10:38

Five Best TRX Suspension Trainer Exercises For Cyclists And Triathletes



Suspension Training is one of the most functional and effective ways to increase strength, especially if you’re an athlete who needs to be able to move your body to perform. This is because suspension training requires you to move and stabilize your own body weight through a variety of movement planes, versus more traditional methods that involve sitting or lying down where your core is supported and locked into a predetermined path of motion (usually pressing weight plates).

Training to move your body weight and move your body as a unit develops strength, but this training is also about developing motor patterns and neuromuscular timing. The result is better stability and improved ability for your muscles to do more complex movements while still working together as a whole.

A strong core can be your saving grace on the bike when you get hit by that unexpected gust of wind, an unexpected elbow from a drifting cyclist, or an inadvertent slam into that unseen pothole. A good core also helps you maintain form through adverse conditions and fatigue.

The following are five of the best suspension trainer movements for cyclists or triathletes. You DO want to develop strength and stability to support your training and performance!




Push-Up
 309c_Suspended Push Up From Floor_copy1130804_3308-2
This movement increases
 both strength and stability of the upper body and core. It will help to give better support and control of your body wh
ile in unstable positions on the bike (sudden swerves, wind gusts, unexpected potholes, etc.).  It will increase power transfer from the upper body to the legs during hard and out of the saddle efforts. If you are a triathlete, it will add strength to your swim stroke as well as upper torso run mechanics and posture.

Targeted Area: Chest and Shoulders.

Tips and Progressions:

To make it harder, step back to load more of your body weight onto the straps. To make it easier, step forward to support more of your body weight with your feet.  You can also progress to suspending your feet, instead of your hands.
 




Row 312b_Inverted Row(A)

This is another great all-around movement that targets the opposing muscle groups to the pushup.  It can improve posture both on and off the bike, as well as strengthen the large muscles of your back which can add power to your swim stroke. 

Targeted Area: Back and Arms

Tips and Progressions:

To make it harder, step forward and place your feet further underneath the anchor.  You will end up leaning back further as well, putting more body weight on the straps which is more weight you will have to lift.  




Sprinter Starts


This one will add strength and stability to the down stroke in pedaling, especially during out of the saddle climbing or accelerating.  It will also It will help triathletes and runners develop a strong leg extension in their run stride that is required for forward propulsion and pushing up inclines.

Targeted Muscles:  Legs and Hips

Tips and Progressions:

Start slow and increase the speed of the movement when you feel comfortable with it.   To progress this exercise, add a hop to it at the top of the movement and focus on maximum acceleration when pushing yourself up from the bottom of the movement.  

 
209a_Sprinter Starts1 209b_Sprinter Starts 209c_Sprinter Starts






Suspended Plank

This is a great all-purpose movement, as a strong core is beneficial for endurance performance as well as general strength for all activities. It builds the strength necessary to stabilize and create a solid center of mass for driving movement. A stronger, more stable midsection can contribute to stronger bike positioning and run mechanics, as well as delaying fatigue in either activity.

If you have not already done the traditional Plank, work on that movement first by starting with your feet on the ground instead of in the straps. Progress to the straps only after you feel you have mastered the traditional version of the Plank.

This exercise is all about form: your hips need to stay up; don’t let the lower back sag; keep the shoulders soft and the back flat (no rounding the back). It’s easy to start losing form with fatigue, so make form a priority and focus. Doing this exercise in front of a mirror will allow you to self-monitor your form.

Targeted Muscles: Core, Arms and Shoulders

Tips and Progressions:

There is no need to hold this position for minutes at a time.  Work up to sets of 45-60 seconds and then progress adding additional sets, or doing a more advanced progression.

104b_Suspended Front Leaning Plank  106c_Suspended Side Plank






Hip Hinge

This one in particular a great 204b_Hip Hingeone for runners and cyclists as it will train the muscles to maintain stability while supporting the body on one leg.  Running in particular requires the stance leg to stabilize while the rest of the body moves.  A lack of stability in your pedal stroke can also leak energy and create harmful forces that add up over time to cause issues. 

Targeted Muscles :  Legs and Hips.

Tips and Progressions:

If you feel wobbly or are losing your balance, reduce the range of motion until you can get it under control.  Start again slow and only go down until the point where you feel it challenges your balance, and then come back up.
 
 
If you enjoyed this and found it helpful, perhaps you have family, friends or training buddies who might like it too. Please feel free to sign up  HERE, to get on the email list. Also, please be sure to check out and "like" the TRX and Strength Training at Cycling Center Dallas Facebook Page.

Check the class schedule if you would like to take a Small Group Strength or Performance Cycling Class. You can also contact me directly by replying to this email to come in for an individual session, get some instruction, or just learn some new things.

Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Tracy Christenson
Cycling and Resistance Training Coach
Cycling Center Dallas
214 773 6503
www.cyclingcenterdallas.com

Tracy Christenson CSCS

USA Cycling, USA Triathlon

tracy@cyclingcenterdallas.com