Get 3 minutes faster in 4 weeks with this yoga workout.
By Selene Yeager
Hammering in the drops can shave more than three minutes off a 40km ride. But that means leaving the comfort of your brake hoods to hunker into an aerodynamic tuck–a position few recreational riders find comfortable for very long.
The solution: yoga, the quickest route to balanced strength and flexibility. “Cyclists are notorious for having tight hips and hamstrings, which makes generating power in the aerodynamic position difficult,” says Lara Garda, yoga and fitness consultant with the University of Pittsburgh. “Yoga improves range of motion in your hips, strengthens your core, and minimizes muscle imbalances so you can ride longer, climb better, sprint faster and feel better on the bike.”
What’s more, yoga improves balance, body awareness and muscle control, all of which will make you a better bike handler. “If you devote 15 to 20 minutes to yoga stretching several days a week, especially on days you ride, I guarantee you’ll see results in as little as a month,” says Garda.
Garda recommends the following four poses for better cycling fitness. For the best results, perform each stretch three times, holding the pose 30 to 60 seconds. Remember to breathe deeply throughout each move. If you stretch beyond the point at which you can comfortably breathe, back off. A good stretch causes mild discomfort, but never pain.
Start in the kneeling position, sitting back on your heels. Lift your butt slightly and move your feet apart, placing them on either side of your butt. (Keep your knees together.) Place your hands behind you by the soles of your feet. Lean back about 45 degrees. Hold. Then release.
Increases flexibility in the quads, hips, knees and ankles for improved range of motion all the way around the pedal stroke.