Every cycling studio out there seems to culminate each class with a stretch, but what about before the class even starts? A good limb lengthening routine is crucial for preventing stationary bike injuries and improving flexibility during your 45-minute (or, if you're feeling extra ambitious, one-hour) ride. For some pro tips, we solicited the help of Marion Roaman, co-founder and general manager of the newly opened Peloton cycling studio in N.Y.C. Read on below for her seven requisite pre-workout tips and corresponding stretches.
1. Loosen up your shoulders. "Cycling indoors and outdoors can create tight shoulders," says Roaman. "Try loosening them up with shoulder rolls before jumping into position."
Shoulder rolls: Standing up, simply scrunch your shoulders up to your ears, roll back and forward while counting to five while rolling back and to five while rolling forward. Repeat five to ten times.
2. Do neck stretches. A full day of work or a restless night can sometimes create tension, and that tension tends to get stored in your neck. In order to prevent stiffening your neck during a ride, you should periodically stretch it out.
Neck stretches: Let your head drop to the right, count to five, drop your chin to your chest, count to five, drop your head to the left, count to five, and drop your head back and count to five. Repeat five times.
3. Relax your wrists. "Though we constantly remind riders not to put any weight into the handle bars, our wrists get locked into position while spinning," says Roaman. "These simple stretches will relax your wrists prior to jumping into a ride."
Wrist relaxers: Hold your arm straight out in front of you, pull your hand (making a stop signal) back toward you and then point your hand down, pushing your hand in toward you. Repeat both sides three to five times.
4. Stretch your lower back. This stretch wakes up your entire body and tells it to get ready to ride.
Lower back stretch: Stand straight up and lift your hands over your head. With your palms facing forward, start to reach out until your body forms a 90 degree angle at the waist. Push your tush behind you. Keep your palms pushing out in front of you. Count to ten in this position, and then drop your hands down toward the floor. Hang for a count of ten and then slowly make your way back up to standing. Repeat two to three times.
5. And stretch it even more. "Before jumping into a ride and settling into position, this stretch will loosen up your lower back even more, releasing any stress from the day," says Roaman.
Lower back stretch #2: Sitting on the bike, not pedaling, place one hand on the center of the handlebars closest to you. Reach your other hand behind you, all the way until you experience a twisting sensation. Keeping your hand behind you, roll back your shoulders. Take a deep inhale and count to ten. Exhale while you press your chest forward. At the base of the exhale, slowly come out of the twist. Switch sides and repeat.
6. Wake up your glutes. A necessity before and after class!
Glute awakener: Keep one hand on the wall or bike for balance. Bring one foot up to the front of the opposite knee. Staying in this position, imagine a chair behind you and sit down. Count to ten while sitting. Slowly release and switch sides.
7. Get that blood flowing! "After sitting at your desk all day or just waking up from a night of sleep, this one is fantastic," says Roaman.
Body stretch: Standing flat footed, lift yourself up, with your finger tips pointed toward the ceiling. Reach your finger tips for the sky and get as high on your tippy toes as possible. Drop and repeat five times.