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I recently came upon a very effective stretch for cyclists and triathletes, and I want to share it with you. It's the Psoas/Hamstring stretch.

Here's why it's so important. We cyclists ride in a hunched over position. Consequently, cyclists have horrifically tight psoas muscles (the main hipflexor). Check out this picture to see what I mean... notice that the leg never fully extends during the pedal stroke:

We ride in a hunched over position, which is bad enough. But, for most recreational cyclists, you sit in a hunched over position all day, too. While you're working at your computer and sitting at your desk, you probably look like this:

Notice this poor skeleton worker man is all hunched over again, with his psoas in a tight position.

On a side note, if you're reading this article right now, and you are sitting in the position pictured above, stand up a take a quick walk around. My article is not that important that you can't take a quick break and loosen your legs up for a few minutes.

Tight psoas can lead to a whole host of problems, as dysfunction at the hips is likely to lead to some sort of overcompensation somewhere down your leg, be it at the hip, IT band, knee, or ankle/foot. A lot of times, clearing up tightness in the hips can clear up problems lower down the leg. Furthermore, loosening up those hips can help a cyclist recruit more muscles in his pedal stroke. Looser psoas can help you properly recruit your glutes, leading to a more powerful stroke.

The Psoas/Hamstring stretch is a perfect way to loosen up those tight hips.

Here's a picture:

Although a stretch, it’s a demanding position that’ll also work on your core stability and balance. Begin by kneeling on one knee and then straighten the other leg out in front of you. Ease into the stretch by sliding the heel of the straight leg further away from you.

Resist the temptation to open out your hips and actively twist towards the extended leg to prevent this. This really targets the hamstrings and the hip flexors that are normally hideously tight in cyclists and often responsible for injuries and back pain.

Make sure you get a nice pad under that rear knee.

3 comments

Rachel said... @ May 11, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Very nice. I love that one. Good for your lower back.

NursAdrn said... @ June 7, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Love it!

Erica said... @ June 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM

I found some interesting quinoa recipes. My mom said your into quinoa. Check 'em out.

http://lvrunningscene.com/2010/06/08/quinoa-the-runners-grain/

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