At the beginning of this year I started using yoga as a means to better prepare myself for cycling. And although I had previously used yoga, the type of yoga exercises I now use can be performed from the comfort of your home. For me this is a great convenience as I can perform them pre-ride, post-ride and in between rides to great benefit.
Basically it comes down to preparing my body before a ride as you would with stretching or any other warmup routine. Afterwards I try to remove all the tension in my body, especially from my legs and start my recovery. This is especially helpful after more taxing rides. Between rides or on the days where I won't be riding, which are rare, I perform strengthening or injury prevention exercises that strengthen my core muscles. Strenghtening your core muscles has the benefit of helping you put more power through your legs and enabling you to achieve a more aerodynamically sound posture on the bike while not straining your lowerback.
Laurens, a friend of mine, pointed me towards some videos on this subject matter just around the time that we rode Liège-Bastogne-Liège together. Ever since I've been using these yoga movements for the previously stated reasons. I was especially surprised at the tension or rather lack thereof in my legs after the post-ride exercises (see video below). The day after Liège my legs felt great, used but not abused is how I would describe the state of them. Somewhat like having a soigneur take care of your legs with a massage, although that would have been even better.
Getting back to those videos I mentioned earlier. They are part of Yoga for Cyclists video series that Claire Pepper over at Omnium.cc blogged about in "Yoga can make you a better cyclist". This collaboration between Omnium and Jasyoga allows you to view all these videos for free on that website. But you can even use Vimeo to watch or download them if you like.
The videos include instructions by Erin Taylor of Jasyoga and writer of Hit Reset. Her instructions are easy to follow and understand, don't require any special equipment except a mat and maybe some thick books or a pillow. On average the videos are about 10 minutes in duration, easily squeezed into your daily routine. Recently a followup blog post by Claire Pepper, "Yoga for Cyclists part 2", was posted including some new videos like Injury prevention for Cyclists.
So if you are looking for a way to relieve tension from your legs, strengthen your core, or recover faster, I highly recommend you try some of these exercises.
I'd like to thank OMNIUM x Jasyoga for their collaboration and bringing yoga to cyclists with their free videos. Especially Claire for allowing me to use some of their photos. Keep up the great work!
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