4 Great Stretches for Your Back After Indoor Cycling

The Best Post-Ride Stretches for Your Back

Between riding hard, moving in and out of the saddle regularly, and neglecting to maintain proper posture, indoor cycling can leave you with a mildly achy back. It’s usually temporary muscle soreness but there’s no reason to endure that discomfort when you can do something about it with a few moves that take just a few minutes. After you do your usual upper body stretches and lower body stretches, if you have time for only one back stretch, downward facing dog will ease tension in your middle and upper-back and your shoulders. But if you want to give your back the royal treatment, the 4 stretches that follow will help soothe sore muscles in your upper, middle, and lower back and help you get ready for your next ride.

Upper back butterfly stretch

Sit up tall, with your head and neck directly in line with your shoulders. Place your hands behind your neck, lace your fingers together, and raise your elbows out to the sides (to about ear level). While keeping your hands in place, slowly bring your elbows together in front of you (without pulling on your neck) until you feel a stretch in your upper back, especially between your shoulder blades. Hold this for 3 to 5 seconds then bring your elbows apart again. Do 8 to 10 repetitions.   

Spinal twist stretch

Lie on your back with your legs extended along the floor and your arms out to the sides so your body resembles a T. Lift your right leg straight up in the air, bring it above your hips, and slowly lower your right leg across your body to the left side, until your right foot touches the floor. Keep your shoulders on the floor and your arms extended; your lower back and hips will be twisted to the left. (To intensify the stretch, turn your head to look toward your right hand.) Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds, while breathing deeply, then slowly lift your right leg off the floor, bringing it straight above your hips, as both hips return to the floor; then, lower your right leg to the floor next to your left leg again. Repeat with the left leg.

Child’s pose

Get down on all fours, with your hands and knees on the floor, a little more than hip-width apart. Relax your upper body and slowly push your strong hips back until your butt sits on your heels. Slide your hands along the floor, extending your arms fully in front of you so your hands and forearms are resting on the floor and your torso is on your thighs. Rest your forehead on the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds, breathing deeply and allowing your back to stretch and relax. (If you have shoulder problems, you can modify this move by extending your arms behind you, along the sides of your thighs towards your feet.)

Knee-to-chest stretch

Lie on your back with your neck elongated and your head flat on the floor. Bend your knees, and bring them up to your chest. Gently hug the backs of your thighs with your arms and gently pull your knees closer to your chest; your shoulders and head should remain on the floor. You should feel this in your lower back. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. After this, you should be ready to move through the world comfortably again!

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