Pre-Race Stretching | Barton Haynes

Bart Haynes here in sunny San Diego, here to talk about stretching before riding and racing. The real question is: why even stretch before riding? 

Barton Haynes Blog Stretch

The fact is, it’s a good question. Cycliing is a physically extremely repetitive activity, and so stretching is beneficial for:

  • Hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Lower back
  • Calfs

 Here are several reasons you should stretch before racing:

  1. Warm up quicker
  2. Avoid cramping
  3. Avoid tightness

Here are the stretches I have used for years and have found to be the most important. 

Hip Stretch for Cycling – Low Lunge

First thing first, the following stretch is also great for your lower back and psoas. This stretch is fantastic for your hip flexors, which probably suffer the most from tightness after cycling because your hips do a lot of work without ever extending while you cycle. Here’s how to do this stretch:

  • Get down into low lunch, with one knee at 90 degrees and the other knee resting on the ground
  • Place both hands on your forward knee
  • Suck in your stomach and try to roll your hips back
  • Lean forward, keeping your upper body perfectly perpendicular to the ground
  • Hold for 5-10 deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth)
  • Switch sides

For added stretch and difficulty, raise your arm and point it straight up (the arm on the same side as the hip you are stretching), then lean to the other side. 

Calf Stretch for Cycling

This one requires little explanation, as you probably already do it. My calves tend to cramp during long races, and stretching really helps prevent this from happening. Here’s how I do it:

  • Find a curb
  • Put the balls of your feet on the curb and let your heels fall down towards the street
  • Hold for 5-10 deep breaths

There are many ways to accomplish this same stretch – you don’t have to use a curb.

Glute Stretches for Cycling

Pigeon poseis an amazing stretch for your glutes, hip flexors, IT band, and lower back. It’s another “must do” before riding and racing. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start in push up position
  • Slide your knee forward towards your chest
  • Point the lower part of your leg outward, so that it is as close to perpendicular to your body as comfortable
  • Slowly lower yourself down and make your body as relaxed and heavy as possible
  • Hold for 10 long breaths
  • Switch sides

There are modifications you can useif this pose isn’t naturally comfortable. 

Hamstring Stretch for Cycling

The last stretch I use is called Pyramid Poseand is an absolutely wonderful hamstring stretch. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand normally, like you’re waiting in line
  • Step forward with one foot about the distance of one stride
  • Put your hands behind your back and lock each hand on the other arm’s wrist
  • Lean forward as far as possible, trying to touch your chest to your feet, without collapsing your back
  • Hold for five deep breaths (you should feel an intense stretch in your upper hamstring)
  • Switch sides

Thanks for following along,

Barton Haynes