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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you're an avid cyclist, can you touch your toes by bending over with your knees straight? (Like the guy below...)

Finger Sleeve Human leg Elbow Shoulder

If you answered "yes"...

  • How long have you been a cyclist?
  • Have you always been able to touch your toes?
  • Do you stretch before/after exercising?
I've been riding a bicycling of some sort for almost the entire 42 years of my life and I've never been flexible... and I've also never tried to be. I suspect the reason for it as that I road BMX bikes as a kid, then got into road biking at about 14 years of age and mountain biking shortly there after, but never stretched... ever.

I've always hated stretching and always considered doing some low-power spinning at the beginning of my rides as all the warm-up my muscles need. However, as I get older, the fact that my lower back and ham strings are tighter than piano strings is troubling me. I started stretching after my indoor rides over the winter, but I feel like I'm making no real progress in terms of increasing my flexibility.

For those of you who might've been in my situation at one time, is there any hope? Can years of non-stretching be un-done without devoting half my life to yoga or something like that?
 

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From the same position as that guy I can put my hands flat on the floor. Can also do front and side splits.
I've been doing Taekwondo since before you were born though. I am twenty years older than you.
You can loosen up a lot if you stretch regularly, every single day. Technique or exact routines don't matter as much as doing it all the time. Fifteen minutes a day in the morning before working out works for me. If you want to do more do another fifteen minutes in the evening.
Doing nothing but cycling is not going to help. Try some crossfit or easy TKD.
 

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I like to stretch after a ride. During that time, yes I can touch the floor. If my muscles are cold, no I'm about three inches off the floor. However, I do it anyway during my morning shower. Nothing strenuous...just go down as far as I my body will let me. I sit at a desk all day, and my back can tell when I don't spend time stretching in the morning.

My biggest problem is in my hip flexors. I do all the hip flexor stretches most days, but they never seem to get easier, and I never seem to make any progress.

I'm 32, cyclists for 4 years...if that makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Fifteen minutes a day in the morning before working out works for me.
Do you "warm-up" your muscles before stretching or just stretch? Seems to me that if I have to do some kind of warm-up and then several minutes of stretching, then it's less likely I'll do it as it'll take up too much time.

I do many exercise other than cycling, but cycling is my primary sport. Like Cinelli 82220, I have a desk job and I don't think that's helping my flexibility either. I do have a stand-up desk and try to walk around every hour or so, but that doesn't help flexibility.
 

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I'm 46, have a bad back and probably not all that flexible these days, have been riding since I was 3yo with a bit of a break in the middle, don't stretch and can still touch my toes like the guy in the pic. If I warm up a bit first, can get my hands nearly flat on the floor. My daughter can just about put her nose on the floor, my son can barely get past his knees...

It's hilarious when kids first realise they have hamstrings and when they get sore muscles after doing some exercise that they used to just take for granted. Welcome to "getting older" kids!
 

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Yes
25yrs
probably
yes

You have never stretched, I would think that you will never be super-flexible at this point.
But you should start now! IMO the most important thing about stretching is learning to relax all your muscles. Tension in the body is great, and until you finally learn to relax, you will never know how tense you have been all these years.
 

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OP, it takes stretching to do it. Having muscles warm is how you get them to want to elongate....it is also how you prevent yourself from damaging yourself trying.

I can touch my palms on the ground with straight knees.
Ditto to that
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tension in the body is great, and until you finally learn to relax, you will never know how tense you have been all these years.
I've noticed that some times when I'm stretching and it hurts like @%@#$ that part of the issue is that I'm not letting my muscles relax. I must be a 24/7 tight-wad!
I can touch my palms on the ground with straight knees.
I hate you (J/K!) :p
 

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I'm only 29 years old but I grew up riding motocross and never stretched. My ham strings have always been extremely tight so I couldn't get close to touching my toes. About a year ago I decided to start stretching on a daily basis to get more flexible. Progress was slow but I don't have much of an issue touching my toes now unless I just got up from sitting around. My lower back pain caused by tight ham strings is now gone.

Road cycling helped a lot because now I actually stretch immediately after a ride that ends at home.
 

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I'm 55 and can put my palms flat on the floor, in the morning when I am cold.

But I've been stretching all of my athletic life, which is about 3/4 of my life so far.. When I was a runner I stretched a lot. Now as a cyclist for the last 15 years I do some stretches and pushups in the morning, and more stretching at night. Not only hamstrings but piriformis and IT bands.

It takes a while but if you work on it consistently you will gain flexibility and that will make you faster and more comfortable on the bike. I think that stretching in the evening is the most productive. Your muscles are warm and you're looser. I don't think that stretching before a ride is useful. I go a bit easy for a while to warm up.
 

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I'm in my mid sixties. I've never been particularly flexible and I don't think I've ever been able to rest my palms on the floor, but that didn't keep me from doing the splits when I was a gymnast in high school. Every morning without fail, though, I lean over and gently let my back and legs stretch themselves to the point where my fingertips touch the floor. It's something that makes my entire day go less painfully and more pleasurably.
 

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  • How long have you been a cyclist? 18+ years.
  • Have you always been able to touch your toes? Yes. I've been playing sports since junior high school.
  • Do you stretch before/after exercising? After.

You can become flexible if you do it daily. It doesn't have to be 15 minutes. I do my basic stretch in the evening on non-riding day and it only takes me 3 minutes. On riding day, I do the same stretch after the ride.
 

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Nope. Not even close. Ever. Even as a kid.

I can barely touch my knees. My wife just laughed at me.
 

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47. Palms flat on the floor since my 20's when I wasn't even a cyclist. I used to, lift more, but always started with a full body stretch that I still do to this day before every session. I actually look forward to it and enjoy it. Very calming.
 

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Nope. Not even close. Ever. Even as a kid.

I can barely touch my knees. My wife just laughed at me.
Same here, I remember all the kids in gym class being able to touch their toes and I could barely touch my knees. I think some of it has to do with genetics but I always was terrible at stretching.
 

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39 years old, ridding most of my life, and running a bit also, though not much running last 2-3 years since achilles tendonitis.
I don't regularly stretch, though I probably should. I do notice how much a warm up helps me now as I've been getting older, even though I used to not really warm up.
I also ride in a fairly aggressive road bike position, with a good amount of saddle to bar drop, and can ride in pretty low in the drop for a good amount of time. My lower back sometimes gets sore, but usually toward the end of a tough cross race, and working on my core some has helped a good amount. I do get some shoulder and neck pain sometimes on longer rides.
Adam
 

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Not warmed up, can touch toes. Warmed up, can touch palms to floor.

Do the P90x yoga dvd 3 times a week for a couple months... You'll be amazed at the progress. It's never too late to work on flexibility.
 
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