I had planned to go to the gym this morning for an hour to do some foam rolling and stretching as part of a recovery day.
But, and you couldn’t make this up… my local gym got blown up last night. Some wise guy drove a car through the front door and set it a light.
“Hey honey, no I didn’t make the gym this morning it got blown up”.
Anyway, instead of stretching my hamstrings and glutes in the gym, I’m at the café writing a blog about my feelings on stretching.
Stretching is one of those topics that is widely discussed among the cycling and greater sporting community.
Many swear by it myself included, claiming it’s a vital part of their training, improving flexibility and alleviating stiffness, preventing injury and most importantly making the athlete mindful of recovery.
Others, however, believe stretching is a complete waste of time and a scroll through Facebook on their lunch break would be a much better use of their time.
Research suggests both have valid points in regards to performance improvements.
Yet there has always been one outstanding problem, stretching and its effect on performance is extremely difficult to objectively measure!
Riders that believe stretching isn’t necessary often state that riding a bike doesn’t demand great flexibility or a significant range of motion in order to sit comfy, reach the hoods and clip the feet it.
So do cyclists need to stretch?
Do we need to get a massage? Ice baths? Compression garments? There isn’t any conclusive evidence to suggest any of these aid performance either.
Shall we still do them? Certainly!
It makes us focus on the recovery process the same way we focus on our threshold sessions, it helps us relax, allowing adaptations to take place from previous training sessions.
Plainly put, cycling is fucking hard ! If it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong!
If something makes you relax, feel a little nicer and recover better, bloody do it!
Even if it’s the placebo effect in full flow. It doesn’t matter.
Stretching certainly alleviates stiffness, improves ones flexibility and reduces the likelihood of injury and while performance improvements are hard to prove, I believe it is a component of your training that shouldn’t’ be overlooked.
You just need to know the type of stretch, when and how to do it !
More to come on our members group.