By Chris Carmichael Founder/Head Coach of CTS
I always try to reduce the number of components or tasks in a cyclist’s workouts. I’d rather you do a few things very well than a bunch of things not so well. This means I keep warm ups simple, prescribe easy-to-execute (but sometimes very strenuous) interval sets, and keep strength routines short. Fewer tasks also increases the chances you’ll actually do all of them! In keeping with this philosophy, I recommend 5 simple stretches when you get off the bike. Why stretch at all?
I remember NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe telling me he didn’t stretch before practices or games. He joked that you don’t see cheetahs and lions on the savannah asking the gazelle to wait a second while they stretch and warm up. And indeed, in running and power sports, static stretching prior to exercise can limit performance. Muscles and tendons that are tight are effectively stiffer springs, which are more beneficial for some runners and power athletes.
Cycling is somewhat problematic in the way it utilizes muscles. In many forms of weight-supported exercise you generate force both as the muscle is shortening (concentric contraction) and as it is lengthening (eccentric contraction). Cyclists primarily produce force only as muscles are shortening. In addition, the pedal stroke doesn’t use the complete range of motion of the hip, knee, or ankle. And the forward-leaning cycling position encourages shortening of hip flexors and tightening of chest muscles.
When I consider whether […]