A few weeks ago we talked about why cyclists need to practice yoga. This week we are taking you a bit further, and actually getting you on the mat; we’re talking all about hip openers!
Tight hips and cycling go hand in hand, and unfortunately perpetuate each other. When you are crouched into a forward position and pedaling for long periods of time, your hips, while consistently moving, never actually go into a full extension. What happens, is your hip flexors hit a point of being over worked, which leads them to tighten up and shorten.
Like a perfect domino effect, having tight and shortened hip flexors will ultimately lead to other issues while cycling (or really, just going about your average day), such as putting you at risk for knee and back pain, as well as compromising your glutes. Compromising your glutes means you can’t put as much force into your pedal strokes. Let’s not forget that this will all affect your posture off the saddle, leading us full circle into having poor posture on the saddle.
Borrowing the examples from Yoga By Candace, we’re sharing our favorite...
Hip Openers for the Cyclist!
1 | Supta baddakonasana
You can modify this pose by placing yoga blocks or a rolled up towel under your knees to support the legs. Breathe here for 5-7 breaths. Make your inhales and exhales match in length.
2 | Fire log pose
This is a fantastic pose for the hips. Don't worry if you can't stack your knee perfectly on top your foot and vice versa - just do the best you can. Tip: flex the feet to protect your ankles.
3 | Fire log pose extension
From fire log pose, spider your fingers out in front of you, keeping your shoulder blades drawn toward one another. Breathe length and space into any areas of tension. Then switch legs, and start in fire log pose again before coming back into the extension.
4 | Single leg happy baby pose
Grab the outside edge of the foot and make sure your low back is glued to the mat. Invite your toes back toward your face and breathe 5 - 7 breaths here before switching sides.
5 | Garland pose
This can be done on flat feet or to modify, come up onto the toes. Press your elbows into your legs to open up the legs a bit more. Tip: keep your collar bones broad by drawing your shoulder blades toward one another.
6 | Pigeon pose
This works the hip flexors and also the chest which will do wonders for your posture. Puff the chest out a bit and breathe 5 - 7 breaths before taking it to the other side.
If you prefer to follow along to a video, check out her 15 Minute Hip Opening Sequence! This video is not the same as the poses above, but another great way to stretch.