Do you stretch before going out on the bike?


Legendary Member
I always thought it was inadvisable to stretch cold muscles, better just to warm up slowly - keeping hydrated and stretching after are key as far as I know


I always thought it was inadvisable to stretch cold muscles, better just to warm up slowly - keeping hydrated and stretching after are key as far as I know
I would agree, doing a large number of rotations on a low gear to warm up and then switch to your normal routine depending on the environment. In terms of the lactic acid, this just comes with training, you want to work on expanding your lungs and increasing oxygen efficiency.


South Liverpool
Generally not before. After a long hard ride I'll stretch my quads by pulling one foot up behind me until my heel touches my butt cheek and hold it for 30 secs, then repeat with the other.

My opinion on lactic acid would be that maintaining good hydration before, during and after a ride will help flush it out, as will finishing a ride "spinning" as if on rollers with very little load.


Man or Moose!
If so, what kind of stretches do you do? And is there any way to delay a build up of lactic acid in your muscles?
None, static stretching before exercise is not advised (I assume you are referring to static stretches), current best practice (according to current coaching qualifications) is to warm up thoroughly with low intensity exercise, possibly followed by dynamic stretches which generally mimic the exercise to be undertaken, but with exaggerated actions.

Static stretches are advised following exercise, but only short (10-15 seconds) shallow stretches (fatigued muscle is much more prone to injury and should not be pushed with stretches following exercise). Deeper stretches for improving your range of motion etc should be undertaken on rest days, these are generally the same stretches but taken deeper and held longer.

It should be noted that over time, opinions keep changing, but this is the current taught best practice and it makes sense.

Personally, I just get on my bike and go, building up my intensity over the 1st 10-15 mins. Similarly for cooling down, just reduce intensity over a similar period.

As for lactic acid build up, you can either ride slower or you can work in increasing your oxygen efficiency and pushing up your lactate threshold. You might want to read up on Lactate threshold and the widely published interval training techniques that can be used to increase your lactate threshold.


Active Member
Just a side note:
For impact sports (not cycling) stretching before an activity (even if you are warmed up) can be very dangerous as by stretching you will relax the muscles and make it easier for your joints to get dislocated or damaged. That's why MMA fighters don't do stretching before, they just warm up really good.


Manchester, UK
I have to caveat my comments with the fact I don't yet cycle - but I did a lot of indoor rowing recently. I always used to do light stretches after my session, which helped a lot. But once I started stretching after warm-up but before intense effort, the effect on how good I felt the next day was remarkable.


Legendary Member
Interesting. I guess the point is 'after warm up', cannot see many people hopping off their bike after a couple of miles and stretching against the nearest tree!

Enjoy once you get cycling :smile:


If you have a problem with lactic acid it suggests that you are pushing gears that are too high - known as grinding. Lower gears and turning your legs over more quickly matches your heart/lung fitness to your leg muscle fitness better and is generally more efficient. Getting the right saddle height is important too.


Oaf on a Bike
I think because you're a big bloke you will have a tendency to try and use your strength to push a big gear, I found when I tried a lighter gear it felt like I was putting less power in, but my speed was the same and my knee joints and leg muscles preferred it. It felt counter intuitive to me to try to go faster in a lighter gear, but there is some sense in using the gears to make it easier :smile:
Raging Squirrel

Raging Squirrel

Well-Known Member
North West
It's not just a cycling thing, I've always had a real problem with lactic acid build up in my calf muscles, even in school. Running, cross trainer work, cycling......after so long my calf muscles just get extremely tight and fatigued despite the rest of me being agle to carry on. It's not really happened on the bike yet, but I know after 10-12 miles it'll kick in.

I saw a TV program once about a guy who, no matter how fit he got himself, he just could not do the final endurance run in full kit to join the Army, and it was only a couple of miles. This guy was ripped to death and extremely fit, but his calf muscles just couldn't take the running. The Army sent him to a specialist and he had some kind of problem but I can't fpr the life of me remember if it was to do with protein in his blood or fibres in his muscles.
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