Yoga and cycling: Cycling is a wonderful sport that is easy to integrate into everyday life and does not require much skill. You all probably ride your bike more or less often; some of you even practice cycling as a regular sport. Especially if you cycle a lot and regularly, you should pay attention to compensatory training. Why? Because riding a bicycle, and especially a racing bike, shortens various muscle groups, and the upper body is statically in one position for a long time.
Here you can find out why yoga is the best recreational sport for cyclists and how four exercises can quickly keep your muscles away.
1- Why do yoga and cycling go so well together?
First of all, thumbs up if you regularly resort to cycling. You are not only doing something good for your health but also for the environment.
Anyone who cycles regularly strengthens the pumping function of their heart, strengthens their leg and lung muscles, and even reduces one or two love handles.
But cycling also has negative consequences. The upper body always remains in the same static position (welcome back pain), and the lower half of the body, i.e., legs and hips, is mostly stretched, which means that the muscles shorten in the long run. Atrophied muscles mean that other muscles and tendons have to do the work, which often results in sore muscles. This is exactly why it is advantageous to practice a recreational sport to counteract the negative effects.
Yoga is ideal as a balancing sport, as the entire musculature is strengthened. Various asanas often involve the entire body, as well as breathing. In addition to the asanas, it is also advantageous to practice breathing exercises, as these have an effect on the vegetative nervous system and can thus promote the regeneration of the muscles.
The entire body’s mobility is trained through yoga, and physical performance is increased, which in turn has a positive effect on cycling training. Due to the often hunched posture on the bike, the chest is not open, and the spine is overloaded. The hips and legs are hardly stretched. Therefore, exercises for the trunk muscles, the chest, the hip extensor, and the leg muscles are recommended for cyclists.
“Yoga gently strengthens and stretches the muscles and trains body awareness” – Lotte Kraus physiotherapist
2- Yoga and Cycling: Malasana – The deep squat
This asana should be performed regularly to open and mobilize the hips. As a result, the calves and ankles are also strengthened. Meanwhile, the lower back is relaxed. However, if you have knee problems, you should not do this exercise.
- Sit on your yoga mat, legs hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor.
- Make sure your body weight is resting on your toes, and your feet are pointing slightly outward.
- Take a deep breath and drop into a deep squat.
- Now bring your hands together in front of your chest in a prayer position and use your elbows on the inside of your thighs to push your knees outwards.
- Keep your back long and straight by pushing your tailbone down toward the floor.
Watch this video for an even more detailed explanation of how to best perform the deep squat:
3- Yoga and Cycling: Adho Mukha Savasana – Downward Facing Dog
While this asana isn’t new, I still want to include Downward Facing Dog, as it’s great for stretching the hamstrings and strengthening the back muscles. Especially after an intensive bike tour, the exercise is ideal for stretching and relaxing the muscles.
4- Yoga and Cycling: Chaturanga Dandasana – The Plank
This asana is an all-around talent for the body. It strengthens almost every muscle, i.e., the arm, leg, chest, and abdominal muscles. If you perform the exercise correctly, the body weight is distributed over the entire body, and you start to sweat a lot. Anyone suffering from shoulder or wrist injuries should avoid the exercise.
- Lie flat on the yoga mat and bring your hands next to you at shoulder level.
- Bend your elbows, and your upper arms form a 90-degree angle to the floor.
- Get on your toes, so your legs lift off the mat.
- Activate your core and shift your weight to your hands and the balls of your feet. Except for your feet and hands, your entire body is now in the air.
- Your arms should not be bent more than 90 degrees, and your gaze should be forward.
- The neck is long, and the buttocks are level with the back. Try not to hollow your back or hunchback.
- Hold the position for as long as it is comfortable, and lower your knees back onto the mat.
5- Yoga and Cycling: Viparita Karani – The Half Candle
Behind the Half Candle hides an asana, which is particularly suitable for relaxation and stretching. Especially after a strenuous bike session, it calms the mind and body and, at the same time, stretches the hind legs, the neck, and the front of the torso.
- Lie on the floor and place your hands next to your body. The legs are hip-width apart. As you exhale, pull your knees toward your chest; straighten your legs up as you exhale.
- In the next step, you lead your legs slightly diagonally over your head so that your pelvis lifts slightly from the floor.
- You can place your hands under your pelvis for support and support them.
- The weight rests on the palms and shoulders, and the spine stretches.
- Breathe deeply in and out several times, then slowly return to the starting position.
- To relax your back, you can pull your knees back toward your chest and hold this position for a moment.
Read also: 6 simple desk stretching exercises