Updated: Nov 20
As someone that recently started road biking and lives in the Netherlands—aka the country of bikes—cycling is a big part of my life. It’s a great way to stay active and move around but especially after a long cycle can leave you feeling stiff and sore all the way from your neck and shoulders to your legs and ankles.
Whether you choose to do some yoga stretches for tackling the muscles that get sore from cycling right after your ride or the next day, this 10 minute yoga stretch for cycling routine can be really useful to increase your mobility.
Not been cycling but still want to try out this yoga sequence? You’ll also get great benefits from the yoga postures if you’ve been walking, running, weight lifting or simply spending long periods sitting. So go ahead and try out this guided practice!
The 5 Best Yoga Stretches for Cycling
The following five yoga postures are some of the best stretches that you can do for cycling.
You’ll find the main focus of these postures is on the legs and hips, which are the area that you’ll find typically gets the most tight after cycling.
However, all of the yoga stretches are focused on the entire body and therefore can also help with soreness you may feel in your neck, shoulders, wrists, back and ankles.
(1) Happy Baby Pose
Come to lie on your back with your knees drawn into your chest. With the help of your hands open your knees out a bit wider than your hips. If this already feels enough stretch for the hips you can pause here.
If it does feel comfortable you can bring your ankles in line with your knees and let your feet face upwards. Hands resting on your ankles or up towards your feet.
Let the back of your body and neck ground into the floor. Pausing here for 5 – 10 breaths either in stillness or rocking gently from side to side.
(2) Supine Pigeon Pose
Lie on your back with your left foot flat on the floor and bring the outside of your right foot to rest on your left thigh.
From here use the help of your hands to bring your left thigh towards your chest. At the same time you actively press your right knee away from you and keep your right foot flexed.
Stay in the Supine Pigeon Pose for 5 – 10 breaths. Again you could choose to either be still in the posture or add some slow movement of circles with your hips. Switch and repeat on the other side.
(3) Low Lunge Pose
Start on your hands and knees. Step your right foot towards your hands and come up with your upper body so that your shoulders are above your hips.
Allow your right big toe and top of the left foot to be heavy. Lifting and lengthening out of the front of your hips and spine.
Keep breathing softly through your nose for 5 – 10 breaths. Either rocking the hips forward on the inhale and back on the exhale, or staying still as you explore the pose. Change sides and repeat the same thing with the left leg forward.
(4) Half Splits Pose
Come to the Low Lunge Pose on the right side and start to straighten your right leg. Allow your hips to shift back with your fingertips resting on the ground or on blocks either side of your right leg.
If your right hamstring (the muscle at the back of your right leg) feels stiff you could keep a small bend in your right knee.
See if you can keep lengthening out from your lower back all the way through your spine. If you can let your right hip draw in to the left. Allow your breath to be slow and deep for 5 – 10 breaths. Then move over and repeat on the left side.
(5) Downward Facing Dog Pose
Begin on your hands and knees, letting your fingers spread and ground into your mat. Tuck your toes and draw the weight of your body back into your legs as you bring your hips up and back.
If your legs feel tight you can keep the knees bent and allow your heels to be lifted. Stay here in the Downward Facing Dog Pose for around 5 – 10 breaths.
To add movement into the posture you could try bending one leg deeply and allow your opposite leg to straighten and heel to drop down. Moving on your next breath to bending the opposite leg and doing this a few times on each side.
You could also try shaking your head from side to side and allow your shoulders to spread wide apart.
Tips on How to Stretch for Cycling
Adapt the Way You Approach This Sequence to What Your Body Needs
If you’ve just come back from a cycle and your body is tired and warm you might choose to do all of these yoga postures slowly and without movement as active stretching.
While if you’re doing this a few hours after cycling or the next day you might choose to add more dynamic movement to help warm the body up and address the stiffness that may have built up since your bike ride.
Also, if you’ve got particularly tight ankles or shoulders you might choose to switch one or two of these yoga stretches to other postures that better address the needs of your own body.
Stretching Takes Time
Allow your body to move slowly into the stretch and take your time to stay in the posture. This will ensure that you move in a way that feels supportive and limit the risk of over-stretching.
Remember that it takes time for your body to open up and lengthen. So if these postures feel intense to begin with, take you time moving in gently and try practicing these postures regularly so that the body can adapt and muscles become longer and more flexible.
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