Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Based on tried and tested yoga positions, these four moves have been tweaked to target a triathlete’s tightest spots: the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors (iliopsoas), shoulders, back, and glutes—including the potentially troublesome piriformis. Perform them daily, holding each stretch for a minimum of 60 seconds. Ease in, exit gradually, and breathe slowly through your nose.
1. The Foam Aero Bar Lunge
Targets: Upper quads, hip flexors, and adductors
Method: If you don’t own two yoga/Pilates foam bricks, then a stack of books under each forearm will do. From all fours, step your right foot up to the outside of your right hand. Position your bricks under your forearms and lower your hips into the lunge. Experiment with the height of the bricks (side on or flat) or—if flexibility allows—remove the bricks altogether.
2. The Ultimate Glute Stretch (with a Tilt)
Method: Lie on your back with your legs bent. Lift your right foot off the floor, and place your right ankle on top of your left thigh. Let your right knee drop out to the side. Hold in front of the left shin, or behind the thigh, and draw both legs in towards you. Tilt a little to the left and hug the legs in closer. Grimacing indicates you’ve found your piriformis.
3. The Front Crawl Lengthener
Method: From all fours, sit back onto your heels. Crawl your hands as far away as possible and hook your thumbs. To deepen the stretch, lean further away from your hands. For a side-stretch version, crawl your hands first to the right, then the left, pausing for 20 seconds on each side.
4. The Mid-Ride Back/Hamstring Fix
Method: Place one hand on the seat and one on the handlebars, then walk backwards until your arms are straight and your body drops into a right angle shape. Take some deep breaths, sinking your chest down on each exhalation. This stretch can be replicated at home, with your hands on a wall or on top of a kitchen counter.
Lexie Williamson is a Yoga Sport Science and British Wheel of Yoga instructor, the author of Yoga for Runners, Yoga for Cyclists and The Stretching Bible (Bloomsbury Publishing), and a hopeless cycling addict.