The Red Ribbon Ride is a four day endurance event and you will be riding more in these four days than you likely do any other time of year. We want everyone to have a great ride which means you will need to not only train and build your core strength but also stretch out your muscles before, during and after your rides.
If you should feel pain while stretching or doing and exercise stop that movement and seek assistance of a medical professional. Pain is a way for your body to communicate that you have gone too far. You will feel some discomfort but this is different from pain.
Your muscles need to recuperate after a long day of riding your bike. You need a good range of motion to keep going day after day or your muscles will become really tight. If you don't have a good range of motion you will likely be in more pain on your bike and the ride will become a less enjoyable experience. Stretching can help prevent muscle tightness and keep you pedaling longer.
When to Stretch
Stretching before you ride is a good practice. Though stretching after your ride when your muscles are nice and hot will actually have much more impact. After your muscles have warmed up they are more likely to be less resistant to the stretch and respond to the lengthening you are requesting them to do. Stretching after exercise helps to avoid muscle soreness and directs the muscle repair systems in the body to strengthen the connective tissue of the muscles stretched.
During training and on the ride you will want to do some stretches at pit stops to keep your body moving.
How Far to Take a Stretch
Stretching should never be painful. You want to take the stretch to the edge of discomfort and no further.
How Long to Hold a Stretch & Symmetry
Stretches should be help for up to 30 seconds. If you are having problems with specific muscle groups hold those stretches for up to a minute. All stretches should be done symmetrically as your body like balance.
Foam rolling is a great way to relax your muscles before your work out. A Foam Roller is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by athletes and physical therapists to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle.
Basic Stretching Guide
|Achilles Crouch: Lean forward from a crouching position, keeping your heel planted.|
|Ankle Roll: Rotate each ankle in a circle ten times in each direction.|
|Butterfly Stretch: Using your elbows, press your knees down toward the floor.|
|Calf Stretch: Using a wall for support, extend one foot back, planting the heel. Lean forward with the other leg, keeping your weight on the bent leg.|
|Gluteus Stretch: Lying on your back, hug your knee toward your chest.|
|Hamstring Stretch: While seated, bend at the hips, reaching your hands toward your feet.|
|Lunge Stretch: Keeping your forward knee behind the ankle in a lunge position, lower your pelvis to the ground.|
|Shoulder/Chest Stretch: Interlock your fingers behind your back and gently raise your arms.|
|Spinal Twist: Cross one leg over the other extended leg, planting the foot on the floor. Twist your torso toward the crossed leg.|
|Squatting Stretch: Keep both heels planted and lower into a squatting position.|
|Quadriceps Stretch: Using a wall for support, bend one knee and grab your ankle, pulling your heel toward your back side.|