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I'm trying to improve my flexibility. I was thinking about trying yoga or pilates. I'd like to get some advice if this is the best route. I am a guy and willing to suck it up for better riding.
 

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When I raced at least twice a week some years ago, I found the Alexander Technique to be very helpful in my quest for speed.
http://www.alexandertechnique.com/

I'm sure hat yoga or pilates could do the same for you, but I've no personal experience with that. One of my heroes (the German pro racer Rudi Altig) practiced yoga before his races in the and was ridiculed for that—until he won the World Individual Pursuit Championship in 1960 and 1961. He went on to win the Vuelta a España (1962), the Tour de France green jersey (1962), the Ronde van Vlaanderen (1964), the World Cycling Championship (1966) and Milan–San Remo (1968).
 

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waterproof*
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Yes, yoga / pilates are good for you. There are studios everywhere, lots of health clubs have classed, even your local Y probably.

... reminds me I need to get back into it.
 

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gastarbeiter
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stay away from bikram.
 

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I ride in circles..
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Best bet... Immediatly after your ride change out of your riding gear and throw on some shorts. Start doing basic stretches while you're still really warm. Hold for 30-45 seconds and don't bob. Static stretching is safe... bouncy stretching can hurt you. Do toe touches with narrow and wide stances, calf stretches, quad stretches. and combinations of them. Take your time and save your money.

Doing this before you shower and relax with increase blood flow and help you recover.
 

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ZoSoSwiM said:
Best bet... Immediatly after your ride change out of your riding gear and throw on some shorts. Start doing basic stretches while you're still really warm. Hold for 30-45 seconds and don't bob. Static stretching is safe... bouncy stretching can hurt you. Do toe touches with narrow and wide stances, calf stretches, quad stretches. and combinations of them. Take your time and save your money.

Doing this before you shower and relax with increase blood flow and help you recover.
+1000

This has changed me as a rider. I can ride as long as I want in the drops, have a very aggressive position, and never have any pain while riding. I can put my palms flat on the ground. It took a while, but regular, dedicated stretching post-rides has changed everything.
 

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ZoSoSwiM said:
Best bet... Immediatly after your ride change out of your riding gear and throw on some shorts. Start doing basic stretches while you're still really warm. Hold for 30-45 seconds and don't bob. Static stretching is safe... bouncy stretching can hurt you. Do toe touches with narrow and wide stances, calf stretches, quad stretches. and combinations of them. Take your time and save your money.

Doing this before you shower and relax with increase blood flow and help you recover.
+1 BAJILLiON!
 

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botto said:
stay away from bikram.
OK, I'll bite . . . so why not?

I started doing Bikram in March and having been going twice a week. A lot of the postures focus on building up the flexibility and strength of the spine, which I've found really beneficial. Case in point just a couple of weeks ago during a long ride on a flat section I all of a sudden found myself riding in the drops. Hadn't given it any forethought, it just happened and it felt really comfortable. I attributed that to Bikram.

But I don't recommend to anyone to do Bikram -- the room is hotter than hell and it can fell like torture, and I'm not exaggerating.
 

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Yeah... there's nothing like coming back and doing a nice stretching routine when you're still nice and hot. I add in some core exercises and some pullups + a few pushups

:thumbsup:
 

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When I was younger and swimming in high school and early college I would stretch like crazy before working out. Seriously taking over 10 minutes to loosen up. I'd get in the pool and feel sloppy as hell. Eventually I stopped stretching before working out and would only lightly stretch tight areas after a long warmup. After I started doing that I found myself getting more out of the warmups and less sloppiness.

Carrying this over to cycling I almost never stretch my legs out before riding now. I might do a few squats and easy lunges to get my blood moving but I've found static stretches don't help much before. Afterward taking 10-15 minutes to stretch out feels amazing. Legs feel better later on and I don't end up walking around stiff the rest of the day.
 

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ZoSoSwiM said:
When I was younger and swimming in high school and early college I would stretch like crazy before working out. Seriously taking over 10 minutes to loosen up. I'd get in the pool and feel sloppy as hell. Eventually I stopped stretching before working out and would only lightly stretch tight areas after a long warmup. After I started doing that I found myself getting more out of the warmups and less sloppiness.

Carrying this over to cycling I almost never stretch my legs out before riding now. I might do a few squats and easy lunges to get my blood moving but I've found static stretches don't help much before. Afterward taking 10-15 minutes to stretch out feels amazing. Legs feel better later on and I don't end up walking around stiff the rest of the day.
agreed - there have been a study or two showing decreased performance if you stretch before the workout.

but... after the workout, I personally like the approach a couple of others have posted.

if I'm going to a class, I'll hop on the spin bike or jog or something to warm up before the class.
 

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Albert Owen
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If you go back through back copies of the Times, you will come across a very good article on the fallacy and dangers of Core Training, Yoga, Pilates etc. Lots of research that goes against today's percieved wisdom.
 

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The current trend is that dynamic stretching before activity, where static stretching is better saved for after as the studies I have read say it can affect performance if performed before. I dont care for yoga classes, most of the moves are too difficult and too long. I can stretch my legs in fifteen minutes, I cant tolerate any more. Its a necessary evil for me!
 

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ZoSoSwiM said:
Best bet... Immediatly after your ride change out of your riding gear and throw on some shorts. Start doing basic stretches while you're still really warm. Hold for 30-45 seconds and don't bob. Static stretching is safe... bouncy stretching can hurt you. Do toe touches with narrow and wide stances, calf stretches, quad stretches. and combinations of them. Take your time and save your money.

Doing this before you shower and relax with increase blood flow and help you recover.
Yes, yes, yes. This is what kept me injury-free as a runner for 15 years and 10,000 miles. Don't overdo stretching before you ride or run. Only stretch as much as necessary to allow an easy warmup and let the warmup loosen your body. Then do purposeful static stretching AFTER the workout, while your muscles are still warm but after you've cooled down and they've had a little while to recover.

David
 
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