Member-At-Large On The Road - November 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Planning: 4 Minutes/4 Stretches 4-U

by Mary Ann Breunig

It’s a beautiful fall day. The fall colors are approaching peak, while the air is crisp and cool. Just a perfect setting for a scenic country ride. Searching our on-line ride listing, you find your Saturday morning ride. Maybe you even email your ride buddies to invite them to join you. The ride starts at 8 am—with travel and setup you plan to leave around 7 am. Wow, this means an early wake-up at 6 am.

You have everything planned and ready to go! Wait! Have you thought about including a few minutes to warm-up pre-ride? to stretch during or post-ride? You’ve been reading articles about the benefits of warm-up, stretching, and cool down. The next ride was supposed to be the one where you included warm-up/stretching in your cycling routine.

Decide today what you will commit to… let’ get started!

Warm-up (4 Minutes)

Get ready to ride! This means waking up your cardio-vascular system and your muscles. Do you ever feel sluggish for the first 10-15 miles of your ride? Right! It takes time to warm-up your body and get into your ride rhythm.

So, as soon as your arrive, take 4 minutes to do something that will warm-up your body. This could be taking a brisk walk or lightly jogging. Your could do 3 sets of 30 jumping jacks! The key is to do what is known as an “Active” or “Dynamic” stretch. That means moving—not staying in place/holding a stretch.

Do your warm-up as soon as you can! Preferably after you park the car! While you want to warm-up just before you start your ride, for most of us it is too easy to postpone (or skip) our warm-up. Hey, it’s only 4 minutes!

Riding-Stop & Stretch (4 Times)

During your ride, each time you stop is an opportunity to get in a quick stretch! Grab a sip of water and hold one stretch for 30 seconds. Before you start your ride, decide on the 4 stretches that you will do on this ride. When you stop—drink and stretch.

Key areas that benefit from stretching are: back, quads, neck, wrists. Here we are talking about “Static” stretching. Proper form is to hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Remember no bouncing or moving—this is static stretching. Checkout on-line videos for demos of stretches or for new ideas for stretching whatever feels tight during/post ride. Many of theses stretches can be done while using your bike to support the stretch.

4 Minutes, 4 Stretches 4 U

Post-Ride Stretching (4 Minutes)

What a great ride! Now is the time to stow the bike, grab a dry shirt, and have a cool beverage with friends!! Before you head off to change or socialize, take 4 minutes to do some stretching. Don’t just jump in your car for that 45 minute ride home, thinking “yeah, I’ll stretch after my shower.” Take 4 minutes to stretch now.

An alternative to repeating the standing static stretches is to do a set of stretches on the ground. It would be handy if you had a towel but a stretch of grass will do! Again hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Start by laying down on your back.

  • Leg Raises: Bend your knees, raise your right leg, flex your foot and hold for 30 seconds; Repeat with left leg.
  • Hamstring/Glute Stretch: Legs up, bend your knees, cross right leg over left and bring toward chest and hold for 30 seconds; Repeat by crossing left leg over right.
  • Twist: Arms out to the side (forming a “T”), bend your knees and drop both legs to one side, look to the opposite side and hold for 30 seconds; Repeat for the opposite side.
  • Quad Stretch: Laying on your stomach, flex your right leg and grab the ankle and hold for 30 seconds; Repeat for the opposite side.

Happy riding and here’s to a fast recovery with more flexibility!

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