Use muscles, then relax muscles. You can’t do one without the other and expect them to increase their performance over time.

This article will talk about three popular methods to relax the muscle fibres that professional cyclists use today.

Muscles are responsible for propelling your bike forward. They work as a tireless team until they begin to fail. One of the reasons they begin to fail is that every contraction causes stress and shortening of the muscle fibers. Your muscles can’t get as much work done when they are shortened and you will generally find your breath is also shortened at the same time.

If you only have 1 hour every day for fitness, then exercise for 50 minutes and dedicate 10 minutes to returning muscle fibres to their full length; you will improve faster than if you rode for the full 1 hour. You will also reduce the risk of injury as a bonus.

Some methods to help muscles relax and regain their optimum are:

Stretching

Foam Roller

Yoga and Meditation

Stretching is the number one activity cyclists use to relax muscles. Research cycling specific stretching routines, as the muscle groups used for cycling are unique. Remember to be gentle whilst stretching and use a stop watch to hold each stretch for 1 minute to gain flexibility and limit distractions. It is best to stretch when you are warm and breathe through each stretch.

The foam roller now travels with all elite cyclists and fills the gap when an athlete can’t get to the masseur. You can purchase a foam roller at any sports shop and they allow you to self massage those tight muscles using your own body weight. There are cycling specific routines to research or you can freestyle each session and dedicate more time to the areas that are most tender. Before you go to sleep is a nice time to perform a foam roller session as riders find they get to sleep faster after a session.

Yoga and meditation have also become popular with cyclists in recent years to help return muscles to their optimum state. If you have the time, a group session each week can be a great investment. Learning how to breathe, move and focus can have an amazing impact on how much tension muscles hold.

You will be able to cycle longer at higher power outputs and more comfortably if you dedicate some time to stretching, using the foam roller, and taking time for yoga/meditation. Be sure to hydrate after a stretching session. Have a go at building these activities into your weekly routine and you may be surprised at what you can achieve.

Congratulations on improving your physical and mental wellbeing by getting on the bike.

Train smart

Matt Wallace
Director
www.coachprobikefit.com.au