Why is it important to stretch or warm down after cycling.

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
Hi.
Please excuse my ignorance on this ,but why is it important to warm down and stretch after a decent ride out. I've been doing some longish rides of late and usually when I get back home I tend to just collapse on the sofa to recover :-) :-). I have noticed though of late that my joints don't feel as flexible as they once where ,or probably a better way of describing it, my muscles feel too tight and inflexible .Would I be right in thinking this is down to not warming down or taking time out ,to stretch after a decent ride out. It's hard to explain but I feel that I've gained some extra muscle build in my legs ,but its not very flexible.
Many thanks for reading and advice given cycling buddies :-)
 

vickster

Legendary Member
To stop your muscles shortening so they get tight and inflexible ;)

Get stretching and foam rolling
 
Hi.
Please excuse my ignorance on this ,but why is it important to warm down and stretch after a decent ride out. I've been doing some longish rides of late and usually when I get back home I tend to just collapse on the sofa to recover :-) :-). I have noticed though of late that my joints don't feel as flexible as they once where ,or probably a better way of describing it, my muscles feel too tight and inflexible .Would I be right in thinking this is down to not warming down or taking time out ,to stretch after a decent ride out. It's hard to explain but I feel that I've gained some extra muscle build in my legs ,but its not very flexible.
Many thanks for reading and advice given cycling buddies :-)
I do half remember reading something in somewhere semi respactable like new scientist that there actually wasn't any real evidence that stretching befor excercisr did any particular good.
 

Buck

Veteran
Location
Yorkshire
I do half remember reading something in somewhere semi respactable like new scientist that there actually wasn't any real evidence that stretching befor excercisr did any particular good.
I’ve read something similar recently as well.

Stretch8ng before you ride isn’t what’s needed. It’s you warming up - I like to think my first few miles are my warm up. Just don’t go sprinting or push8ng hard in that time.

At the end of a ride a few stretches or foam rolling can do you the world of good particularly if you have an u derlying issue such as tight tendons or prone to cramps.
 

Tin Pot

Guru
Hi.
Please excuse my ignorance on this ,but why is it important to warm down and stretch after a decent ride out. I've been doing some longish rides of late and usually when I get back home I tend to just collapse on the sofa to recover :-) :-). I have noticed though of late that my joints don't feel as flexible as they once where ,or probably a better way of describing it, my muscles feel too tight and inflexible .Would I be right in thinking this is down to not warming down or taking time out ,to stretch after a decent ride out. It's hard to explain but I feel that I've gained some extra muscle build in my legs ,but its not very flexible.
Many thanks for reading and advice given cycling buddies :-)
It’s important because it’s “common sense” and “everyone does it”.

Don’t let the absence of facts and relevant, attributable science put you off.

However, I would suggest warming down the last twenty minutes of your rides.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I’ve read something similar recently as well.

Stretch8ng before you ride isn’t what’s needed. It’s you warming up - I like to think my first few miles are my warm up. Just don’t go sprinting or push8ng hard in that time.
I've read the same and agree with you.

At the end of a ride a few stretches or foam rolling can do you the world of good particularly if you have an u derlying issue such as tight tendons or prone to cramps.
I bought a foam roller but only used it once because it bruised me really badly. My post-rolling legs looked like someone had taken a baseball bat to them! (It is the one time that me being on Warfarin has made itself really obvious. I'd read on the drug advisory leaflet that I might bruise easily and that turns out to be true.)
 

hoopdriver

Veteran
Location
East Sussex
I use my opening miles as my warm up, and the same, in revese, as I near home and want to warm down. That said, a regular program of stretching at some point in the day is a good idea to keep your muscles supple and reduce the chance of strains or injury.
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I have to confess I don’t ride warm up miles as I’m usually late to the meet point and rushing to be there on time. I do use the 6 mile ride home after a club ride to warm down, I think it helps.

I took up daily stretching four months ago. This came about as I had a great deal of discomfort from the base of neck, across the shoulder blade, over the heart, down my left arm and through my hip to foot. I was convinced this all related to a foot issue.

Long story short I got a referral to a podiatrist who quickly fixed hip to foot and referred me to physio for the rest. Physio identified the muscle on the left side base of my neck as much thickened and short. Four months of neck physio has almost eliminated the discomfort, confining it to a small area at the neck base, and the muscle is improving.

My physio says I have a good range of general movement and, at 63, to maintain this I should stretch daily. I’ve a short routine, 20 minutes, of yoga stretches which after four months have definitely made a difference.

My neck issue came about through cycling. The thought is my bike position has always been slightly wrong but as I only rode on Sundays my body had time to recover. Having retired I’m riding around 150 miles a week, less recovery time and increased pressure on the affected area.

So yes stretching works and is worthwhile.
 

hoopdriver

Veteran
Location
East Sussex
I have a vague idea that I ought to stretch but I tend to slump instead. However, having read above about all this "warm up" (trundle off slowly) and "cool down" (struggle back exhaustedly) I think I should be OK.

I'm not sure if there's something else I should be doing in between those two, though.
Nah, just four hours of a nice steady 105rpm cadence over the hills in your 53x11 gear ratio.... that ought to do it
 
I've read the same and agree with you.


I bought a foam roller but only used it once because it bruised me really badly. My post-rolling legs looked like someone had taken a baseball bat to them! (It is the one time that me being on Warfarin has made itself really obvious. I'd read on the drug advisory leaflet that I might bruise easily and that turns out to be true.)




Did you take it it of the box befor use
 

Heltor Chasca

Out-riding the Black Dog
I reckon it takes me at least 15-20km to warm up and I think Audax rides are gentle enough not to need a stretch. I will probably regret this as I get older. I’ve read a little about it being important that your lungs need to warm up before they are more effective. Never thought about it before but I found it interesting.

In the old days you stretched before you exercised. Now, and more sensibly, the thinking is that you warm up before stretching.
 
There are a lot of metabolites around the body, after a long ride, they like to build up in the muscles. If you stretch / warm down properly, the build up is much less pronounced. If you want to reduce the amount of lactic acid ( for example) which settles in your leg muscles ( for example ) after a long ride, a good stretch / warm down will help reduce the amount / concentrations, and you won’t have such a pronounced ‘dead leg’ feel the following day. It’s also worth remembering that your heart, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles, are muscles as well, if they are working to their full potential, your ‘recovery’ after a hard ride will be quicker / easier.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Did you take it it of the box befor use
Ha ha!

I was actually pretty surprised at the outcome - I wasn't even rolling that vigorously! It felt like it was doing me some good so I would have used it regularly but the bruising put me off.

Anyway - I just wanted to warn others who bruise easily that there could be problems with rollers.
 
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