• This is aimed at stretching those small muscles at the very top of the neck and beneath the head, which are in a shortened position all day when looking at a computer screen.
Sitting at desk, looking straight ahead. Give yourself a double chin, tilting your head slightly forwards as you do so. Hold this for five seconds and repeat three times. Perform every two hours when sitting at your desk.
    This is aimed at stretching those small muscles at the very top of the neck and beneath the head, which are in a shortened position all day when looking at a computer screen. Sitting at desk, looking straight ahead. Give yourself a double chin, tilting your head slightly forwards as you do so. Hold this for five seconds and repeat three times. Perform every two hours when sitting at your desk.
  • When your hands are in front of your body operating a mouse and keyboard all day, the muscles on the front of your shoulder are going to get tight. This will pull the shoulders around the body and ultimately the head forwards on the spine. The Pectoralis stretch should allow the shoulders to resume an ideal position on your torso.
Stand in doorway with your arm out and elbow bent at 90 degrees, place your forearm up against the doorframe. Lunge forward to stretch front of chest. Hold 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side.
    When your hands are in front of your body operating a mouse and keyboard all day, the muscles on the front of your shoulder are going to get tight. This will pull the shoulders around the body and ultimately the head forwards on the spine. The Pectoralis stretch should allow the shoulders to resume an ideal position on your torso. Stand in doorway with your arm out and elbow bent at 90 degrees, place your forearm up against the doorframe. Lunge forward to stretch front of chest. Hold 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side.
  • Sitting with your knees bent will result in the hamstring muscles shortening. This increases tension down the back of the legs and makes it hard to reach your handlebars when you are riding.
Sit on your chair, right leg with your knee very slightly bent, toes pointed away from you. Now lean forwards from the hips (keeping your back straight) until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for 20 seconds and perform on each side.
    Sitting with your knees bent will result in the hamstring muscles shortening. This increases tension down the back of the legs and makes it hard to reach your handlebars when you are riding. Sit on your chair, right leg with your knee very slightly bent, toes pointed away from you. Now lean forwards from the hips (keeping your back straight) until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for 20 seconds and perform on each side.
  • Sitting all day will also cause your gluteals to shorten, resulting in an upright pelvis when in the saddle. The hip internal rotator stretch will make your handlebars seem much closer than they would otherwise.
Sitting on edge of chair, place your right ankle on left knee. Now push your right knee forwards and out to the right side with your hand. Lean forwards at the hips and you should feel the stretch in the back of your right buttock.
    Sitting all day will also cause your gluteals to shorten, resulting in an upright pelvis when in the saddle. The hip internal rotator stretch will make your handlebars seem much closer than they would otherwise. Sitting on edge of chair, place your right ankle on left knee. Now push your right knee forwards and out to the right side with your hand. Lean forwards at the hips and you should feel the stretch in the back of your right buttock.
  • The last of the lower limb stretches reverses the effects of sitting with your hips in flexion all day. The importance of this muscle cannot be ignored—a tight, overactive hip flexor will draw your spine forwards and place stress on the lower back when riding, especially when driving big gears or seated climbing.
Kneel your right knee down on a folded towel. Have your left hip bent and foot on the floor. Draw forwards at the hip, keeping pelvis horizontal (buttock tucked under). 
You should feel stretch down the front of your hip and thigh. Hold it for 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side. Perform this one both before and after exercise.
    The last of the lower limb stretches reverses the effects of sitting with your hips in flexion all day. The importance of this muscle cannot be ignored—a tight, overactive hip flexor will draw your spine forwards and place stress on the lower back when riding, especially when driving big gears or seated climbing. Kneel your right knee down on a folded towel. Have your left hip bent and foot on the floor. Draw forwards at the hip, keeping pelvis horizontal (buttock tucked under). You should feel stretch down the front of your hip and thigh. Hold it for 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side. Perform this one both before and after exercise.
  • Okay, dropping to the ground underneath your desk may not be viable at the office, but this is a nice passive stretch that shouldn’t be too much of an imposition before bed. It is hard to get your head on top of your shoulders, and keep your shoulders back, unless you have good mid-back mobility. This stretch should be a pleasure after a long day tapping the keys (and also after a long day in the saddle for those lucky enough to get out!)
Lay on your back, hips and knees bent, feet on the floor. Have rolled up towel placed crossways underneath your back, in the mid-back (thoracic) area. Lift your arms above your head to rest on the floor. Hold 20 seconds, then repeat with towel in a slightly higher position. Do this one at the end of every day.
    Okay, dropping to the ground underneath your desk may not be viable at the office, but this is a nice passive stretch that shouldn’t be too much of an imposition before bed. It is hard to get your head on top of your shoulders, and keep your shoulders back, unless you have good mid-back mobility. This stretch should be a pleasure after a long day tapping the keys (and also after a long day in the saddle for those lucky enough to get out!) Lay on your back, hips and knees bent, feet on the floor. Have rolled up towel placed crossways underneath your back, in the mid-back (thoracic) area. Lift your arms above your head to rest on the floor. Hold 20 seconds, then repeat with towel in a slightly higher position. Do this one at the end of every day.
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We all know that stretching is important, but few of us make the time to actually do it. Here’s a stretching regime that just about anyone can follow—even with a busy schedule.

As a physio at the Body Mechanic, the cyclists we treat can be grouped into three broad categories:

Type 1 - Diligent

In addition to their cycling load, they attend at least one formal Yoga, Pilates or core stability class per week. These clients are definitely in the minority—maybe one rider for every 20 that I see.

Time requirement for the above program: at least one hour per week, plus travel time.

Additional requirements: Gym membership, freedom from other time demands such as work and family.

Type 2 - Motivated

In addition to their cycling load, they perform a routine of stretching exercises, usually at night before bed. In addition, they regularly stretch following rides, and in most cases will have an array of other ‘self management’ strategies in place such as regular massage, foam rollers, trigger point balls and so on.

Again these riders are in the minority, perhaps one rider in every 20.

Time requirement for the above program: 20 to 40 minutes, up to five times per week.

Additional requirements: Freedom from other time demands.

Type 3 -Normal

When asked whether they stretch, the response will be “not enough”. They will stretch a muscle when it feels tight, usually when they notice it during or after riding, or between the coffee stop and the shower, and they’ll usually only stretch for five seconds or so. After that they have to drive the kids to soccer, or get back to their desk to answer emails and arrange the next meeting.

When they get home, they bath the baby or help with homework, then have dinner in front of The X-Factor before a quick shower and a check of emails. Then it’s time for bed. About now they remember the 15-minute stretching regime their physio, coach or latest edition of MBA gave them, but they are too tired and have an early start. And for that matter, they haven’t stretched regularly for the last 20 years, so they may as well start tomorrow.

Put in another way, if doing either or both of the first two strategies is too cumbersome, they won’t stretch at all. This covers the majority—myself and 18 out of every 20 riders that I see!

Sensible Solutions

So if your time is limited, you need to ensure that any program is achievable and focussed. I’m regularly asked, “What are the best stretches to do after my ride?” This question implies that of any activity you are performing on a regular basis, it is the riding that is doing the most harm. However, at the clinic we more often see the physical consequences sitting at the desk all day. Sedentary work postures are now being compared to smoking as a preventable lifestyle factor that impacts on your health—we see the impact that sitting all day has on your cycling!

Surely then, an effective stretching program should target the negative effects of sitting at work, allowing you to ride more comfortably, frequently and for longer, with less risk of injury?

In order to create adaptation, any stimulus needs to be applied to the body in a gradual, repetitive fashion. This means that like when training for any event, you need to perform a sustainable amount of stretching, that you can perform on a regular basis, for a long period of time.

What follows are some simple stretches which you can implement regularly, at work, without having to magically come up with an extra hour or three per week, a gym membership, or cutting down on your sleep. Remember, with any stretching program you should stretch only until you experience a sensation of tightness, never pain. If adopting these postures causes pain, either during or afterwards, cease immediately and consult with your health professional (doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath or similar who understands cycling).

Whilst I will be the first to agree that the ‘diligent’ and ‘motivated’ riders introduced above are likely to have a better outcome at the end of the day, I can categorically state that employing a simple and regular management strategy is going to be significantly more effective than doing nothing. The best thing about this plan is that it’s quite possible to ‘multi-task’ and perform a number of these stretches at the office, while you check your emails or ‘research’ on the internet. So cut out the following page and pin it on the wall as a reminder—your body will thank you for it.

This is aimed at stretching those small muscles at the very top of the neck and beneath the head, which are in a shortened position all day when looking at a computer screen.
Sitting at desk, looking straight ahead. Give yourself a double chin, tilting your head slightly forwards as you do so. Hold this for five seconds and repeat three times. Perform every two hours when sitting at your desk.
This is aimed at stretching those small muscles at the very top of the neck and beneath the head, which are in a shortened position all day when looking at a computer screen. Sitting at desk, looking straight ahead. Give yourself a double chin, tilting your head slightly forwards as you do so. Hold this for five seconds and repeat three times. Perform every two hours when sitting at your desk.
When your hands are in front of your body operating a mouse and keyboard all day, the muscles on the front of your shoulder are going to get tight. This will pull the shoulders around the body and ultimately the head forwards on the spine. The Pectoralis stretch should allow the shoulders to resume an ideal position on your torso.
Stand in doorway with your arm out and elbow bent at 90 degrees, place your forearm up against the doorframe. Lunge forward to stretch front of chest. Hold 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side.
When your hands are in front of your body operating a mouse and keyboard all day, the muscles on the front of your shoulder are going to get tight. This will pull the shoulders around the body and ultimately the head forwards on the spine. The Pectoralis stretch should allow the shoulders to resume an ideal position on your torso. Stand in doorway with your arm out and elbow bent at 90 degrees, place your forearm up against the doorframe. Lunge forward to stretch front of chest. Hold 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side.
Sitting with your knees bent will result in the hamstring muscles shortening. This increases tension down the back of the legs and makes it hard to reach your handlebars when you are riding.
Sit on your chair, right leg with your knee very slightly bent, toes pointed away from you. Now lean forwards from the hips (keeping your back straight) until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for 20 seconds and perform on each side.
Sitting with your knees bent will result in the hamstring muscles shortening. This increases tension down the back of the legs and makes it hard to reach your handlebars when you are riding. Sit on your chair, right leg with your knee very slightly bent, toes pointed away from you. Now lean forwards from the hips (keeping your back straight) until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for 20 seconds and perform on each side.
Sitting all day will also cause your gluteals to shorten, resulting in an upright pelvis when in the saddle. The hip internal rotator stretch will make your handlebars seem much closer than they would otherwise.
Sitting on edge of chair, place your right ankle on left knee. Now push your right knee forwards and out to the right side with your hand. Lean forwards at the hips and you should feel the stretch in the back of your right buttock.
Sitting all day will also cause your gluteals to shorten, resulting in an upright pelvis when in the saddle. The hip internal rotator stretch will make your handlebars seem much closer than they would otherwise. Sitting on edge of chair, place your right ankle on left knee. Now push your right knee forwards and out to the right side with your hand. Lean forwards at the hips and you should feel the stretch in the back of your right buttock.
The last of the lower limb stretches reverses the effects of sitting with your hips in flexion all day. The importance of this muscle cannot be ignored—a tight, overactive hip flexor will draw your spine forwards and place stress on the lower back when riding, especially when driving big gears or seated climbing.
Kneel your right knee down on a folded towel. Have your left hip bent and foot on the floor. Draw forwards at the hip, keeping pelvis horizontal (buttock tucked under). 
You should feel stretch down the front of your hip and thigh. Hold it for 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side. Perform this one both before and after exercise.
The last of the lower limb stretches reverses the effects of sitting with your hips in flexion all day. The importance of this muscle cannot be ignored—a tight, overactive hip flexor will draw your spine forwards and place stress on the lower back when riding, especially when driving big gears or seated climbing. Kneel your right knee down on a folded towel. Have your left hip bent and foot on the floor. Draw forwards at the hip, keeping pelvis horizontal (buttock tucked under). You should feel stretch down the front of your hip and thigh. Hold it for 20 seconds and repeat twice on each side. Perform this one both before and after exercise.
Okay, dropping to the ground underneath your desk may not be viable at the office, but this is a nice passive stretch that shouldn’t be too much of an imposition before bed. It is hard to get your head on top of your shoulders, and keep your shoulders back, unless you have good mid-back mobility. This stretch should be a pleasure after a long day tapping the keys (and also after a long day in the saddle for those lucky enough to get out!)
Lay on your back, hips and knees bent, feet on the floor. Have rolled up towel placed crossways underneath your back, in the mid-back (thoracic) area. Lift your arms above your head to rest on the floor. Hold 20 seconds, then repeat with towel in a slightly higher position. Do this one at the end of every day.
Okay, dropping to the ground underneath your desk may not be viable at the office, but this is a nice passive stretch that shouldn’t be too much of an imposition before bed. It is hard to get your head on top of your shoulders, and keep your shoulders back, unless you have good mid-back mobility. This stretch should be a pleasure after a long day tapping the keys (and also after a long day in the saddle for those lucky enough to get out!) Lay on your back, hips and knees bent, feet on the floor. Have rolled up towel placed crossways underneath your back, in the mid-back (thoracic) area. Lift your arms above your head to rest on the floor. Hold 20 seconds, then repeat with towel in a slightly higher position. Do this one at the end of every day.

 

Bicycling Australia

Daryl Impey has done it, the Mitchelton-Scott rider and South African national champion has won back-to-back Tour Down Under events, the first rider to ever do so.

Tour Down Under leader Patrick Bevin was rushed to hospital after the completion of Stage 5 of the race, the New Zealander crashing heavily in the final 10km of a thrilling and controversial day's racing.

Reigning Tour Down Under Champion Daryl Impey has won Stage 4 of this year’s event in sensational style