Performance Insiders

Monday, August 29, 2011 4

Q: How can I loosen up tight hip muscles from cycling?

By: Question from: The Editors, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cycling
Photo: Ethan Lofton/Flickr

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A:

Even though you’re pumping your legs and working hard, you’re in a seated position, which is why many seasoned cyclists look like office workers who spend too much time slumped over at a desk. This riding position causes the muscles on the front of your hips to become tight. Here are a few tips to loosen up:

1. Before you ride, stretch your hip flexors—the muscles on the front of your hips—with the half-kneeling hip flexor stretch. Place your right foot flat on the ground in front of you with your left knee on a pad or mat behind you. Rest your left hand on your right knee. Lean forward slightly, tighten your stomach, and contract the glute of your back leg. Maintaining this position, shift your entire body slightly forward and hold for two seconds. Relax and return to the starting position. Complete a set on one side before repeating with the opposite leg. Click here to see a video.

2. On the bike, spread the stress of riding throughout your body and maintain good posture by keeping a smooth curve in your spine instead of an arch or hunch.

3. When you’re riding, stand up to peddle for about 30 seconds every 10 to 20 minutes or when you hit steeper terrain. This will help release tension on your hip muscles.

4. Add Romanian deadlifts to your gym workout. You’ll train your glutes and hamstrings while at the same time teaching your body to pivot through your hips. To do it, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent, holding a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing toward you. Bend forward at the waist, lowering the dumbbells toward your shins. Contract your glutes and hamstrings to return to a standing position and repeat for the full set. Notice that the bottom position is similar to an aggressive road cycling position. Click here to watch a video of the movement.

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