Words : Charlie Coquillard / Video: Charlie Coquillard / Yoga teacher : Karen Norris

Yoga for cyclists with Karen

Hey, I'm Karen

I'm an experienced Yoga coach from Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach.

I’m also an avid cyclist in my spare time and an ambassador for Soomom cycling garments.

As a cyclist and yoga coach i'm passionate about helping people get more comfortable on their bikes.

It's my pleasure to welcome you to our monthly yoga practice focused on getting you more comfortable and efficient on the bike as well as avoiding future injuries.

It’s exciting to bring my two passions together and help riders look after their bodies so they can spend more time doing what they love without pains and injuries.

Every month we'll release an episode focused on a different part of the body and muscle groups.

Introduction

We're excited to announce our series of Yoga for Cyclists, a partnership with Soomom cycling.

Every month we'll focus on a different exercise and a different part of the body.

This 11 part series will take you through how to prevent, strengthen and recover areas of the body that are impacted by cycling regularly.


This article answers the following questions for cyclists

  • Why is yoga important to cyclists?
  • What effect does cycling have on your upper and lower back, hips and glutes?
  • What can we do to treat these imbalances in our major muscles from cycling?
  • Can yoga improve my cycling ability?

Why is yoga important to cyclists?

I think yoga is extremely beneficial for cyclists especially after spending long hours in the saddle flex board.

Cyclists spend a lot of time flex forward with a rounded upper and lower back.

This puts unexpected pressure on certain key parts of the body: Upper back, lower back, hips and shoulders.

These zones are important for the proper functioning of all other parts of the body, so it's important to make sure we are looking after hese key zones.

With some simple pre-ride, or post-ride, exercises completed consistently we can avoid discomfort on the bike, and also long term injuries.

The monthly exercises i'll be demonstrating aim to stretch the shortened and tight muscles and engage and strengthen the weak and underactive muscles that are commonly seen in cyclists.

Episodes in our 10 minute Yoga for Cyclists series

  • Relieve pain & discomfort while cycling
  • Improve hamstring mobility & avoid lower back pain while cycling
  • Improve hip mobility & build pedalling efficiency while cycling
  • Relieve pain & discomfort while cycling

What effect does cycling have on your upper and lower back, hips and glutes?

Cyclists spend a lot of time flex forward with a rounded upper and lower back.

This position over time can create imbalances between muscle groups with cycling hip flexors shortening and become tighter.

This causes the glutes to become weak and underactive. The rounded upper back also causes the chest and upper traps to become tightened weakening the mid-back and the scapula stabilizers.

Abdominal muscles can also be shortened and those muscles that run along the back of the spine are lengthened and weakened.

What can we do to treat these imbalances in our major muscles from cycling?

Through a combination of exercises we can lengthen muscles that are tightened, and strengthen areas that have become weaker while riding.

We will spend time learning new techniques to strengthen regions of the body that are most likely to become weaker with time.

Depending on where you experience the most tightness we will have a series of exercises you can follow.

Lower back pain?
Tight hamstrings or glutes?
Sore neck?

Check out our series here and you’ll be riding at peak condition by following Karen’s guidance.

Can yoga improve my cycling ability?

Your power, endurance and performance on your bike can all be improved through incorporating regular yoga in your training.

Yoga will help you to lengthen key muscles groups that will directly lead you to be able to expend greater power through those muscles.

By alleviating any back or neck discomfort you will also feel much stronger on the bike and be able to sustain increased output for longer.

Finally, by having better overall body movement and flexibility your comfort on your bike will increase, improving your ability to sustain yourself on longer rides.

What are you waiting for? Let's get started.

Conclusion

As soon as you get off the bike it's an amazing feeling to reopen back up through the front of the body.

It's great to start to relieve tension that's created in the lower and upper back as well as the neck.

I look forward to seeing you on the mat soon, until then don't forget to ride hard and stretch.

You can check out the full series here.

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