Words & video: Charlie Coquillard / Yoga teacher : Karen Norris 

Yoga for cyclists with Karen -EP04

Introduction

In the fourth episode of Yoga for Cyclists Karen demonstrates 6 poses focused on opening the chest that are designed to counter the hunched over effect from cycling.

While cycling we all spend a lot of time arched forward, this places a lot of pressure on the muscles in the lower back, shoulders and upper back.

It’s important after a long ride to unwind these muscles correctly to avoid long term issues.

It’s also important to build up muscles in the core and lower back that will protect these regions from damage.

How can I open my chest to improve my posture and avoid upper back pain after cycling?

By following Karen’s instruction and exercises consistently you can help to avoid long term damage from being hunched over your bike.

By building surround muscles groups you are creating an extra barrier of defence that will also help you to feel more comfortable on your bike for longer.

Karen takes us through 6 poses to help relax overworked muscles from cycling, open up the chest and avoid long term back damage.

1. Seated Cat Cows

Starting with Seated Cat Cows you can really focus on stretching out the sides and feeling your back muscled elongate.

Be sure to keep focused on your breathing throughout the movements and on the muscles you’re aiming to release.

2. Cobra Pose

This movement is aimed at strengthening the muscles that are not used while you’re hunched over your bike.

Keeping knees off the ground and palms in the air focus on holding your core and strong to keep a natural curve in your back.

Hold this pose to build strength through the core and lower back that will be vital in protecting you from long term injuries from extended cycling.

3. Half Frog Pose

Staying on your stomach you will now rest your knees on the ground as you begin to arch your back with your forearms resting on the ground.

Reaching back you can grab you ankle with the corresponding arm and stretch out through the front of your body.

Maintain the hold to feel you muscles release across your front and reverse the compression felt while hunched on a bike.

4. Open Chest Pose

An Open Chest pose similarly will continue to stretch those muscles across the front especially that are closed while cycling.

Staying on your stomach, keeping your head and chest close to the ground lift one leg up and over the other while keeping a slight twist in your upper body. Hold and repeat with the other leg. 

5. Camel Pose

Up on your knees now, keeping your knees directly below your hips and placing your hands on your lower back begin to lean back and stretch out the core.

As you advance you can begin to try to place your hands on your ankles through this movement, but to start having your hands on your lower back is fine.

6. Closed Legged Child’s Pose

We’ve spent most of this session stretching out the front of the body, but let's finish by really stretching out the muscles along the spine.

In a Child’s Pose we lean forward and you can feel those muscles along the spine release.Again, make sure you are focused on your breathing, relaxing and letting those muscles really unwind.

Conclusion

It’s important to make maintenance and recovery of your body a priority if you cycle regularly.

Make sure you complete these exercises regularly to see results when you ride.

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