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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being relatively new to cycling in comparison to most people on here, I have stumbled upon a topic of interest that has me scratching my head so to speak. With all of the fitness classes I have taken in the past they have really stressed to stretch before you work out. I carried over this technique into cycling and never really seemed to have an issue. Last night I rode with some very seasoned riders who found it funny that I was stretching pre-ride. After a couple miles of light spinning the seasoned riders pulled off the road and began stretching after they had warmed up.

I understand that different techniques work for different people, however what is the general consensus in regards to stretching? Warm up then stretch, stretch before and just ride, never stretch, or something completely different?

Please share your thoughts for I want make sure that I am stretching/warming up properly and on the back side trying to not look like a newbie after a couple years of cycling.
 

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This column made me decide to try stretching after the ride and not before. I try to warm up, though, before riding hard. Studies question benefit of stretching before exercise
This is my belief too. I've never relished the thought of stretching cold muscles, but feel they need to warm up a bit before going full tilt. I will bike at a slow pace for the first 8kms or so, then stretch when I get home.
 

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Static stretching before working out is an old-school technique. It could easily lead to injury because you're pulling on a muscle that isn't ready to be stretched. Research and athletes are starting to show that active stretches after you have warmed up are best.
 

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I don't stretch before starting my ride. Idon't like the idea of stretching cold muscles, at least statically. If I were going to stretch before a ride I would do some sort of dynamic stretching that mimics the range of motion I'd need on the bike. However, warming up on the bike itself pretty much accomplishes this. After the ride, however, I do a series of static stretches to loosen up the neck, back and legs.

Cheers!
K
 

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I didn’t click on the link but know not to stretch cold muscles. I'm not going to look it up and provide sources but putting together some of the information I heard about, I believe that it offers some benefit to comfort but none or little to performance. I know, I know, if it helps with comfort then it helps with performance but I still make the distinction.

I stretch post workout. And yeah, I do a slow warm up and cool down. Also sometimes do foam roller (post ride/run), which has helped me after getting over the initial pain of it.
 

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I have started to stretch my calf muscles before I ride and it has helped with calf cramping (which I am very prone to).

If I don't stretch before, I am much more likely to get calf cramps, or at least a twinge that indicates that I need to dismount soon and stretch to stave them off. Once the twinges start, however, its kind of "too late" and I will have to stretch them multiple times during the ride.

Note: I have had my electrolytes tested and watch my hydration so these don't appear to be the causes of the cramping. It must be my cycling technique and the pre ride stretching seems to help.
 

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Warm up/ride/keep stretching after the ride.
 

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I agree. After a few months of testing my stretch routines. Gotta warm up before stretching. If I attempt to stretch in the morning after I have woke up to do a group ride. I am very stiff. I can barely touch my toes. So I'll run in place, do some jumping jacks or something to try and get warmed up. Sometimes not at all and just get out and go, then stretch a little after riding the bike a little before the group ride starts.
But in the evening, after work or something. I can put my forehead to my knee that I am so ready to stretch. Then go do my workout.

cold stretch = bad
warm stretch = feel good.
 

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Many claims and "studies" which are pretty much meaningless for an individual.
I started stretching before exercise when I ran in high school 38 years ago.
I found that if I don't stretch before running I feel tighter and more prone to injury.
For cycling I like to stretch before but I don't always do it and it doesn't seem to be as necessary as for running. I stretch at different times, before, during, after. I think in general it helps and never had anything adverse happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have always stretched during and after the ride as well. It all makes perfect sense to me and I'm surprised it hasn't set in before. Its simple logic really, I have just had it pounded into my head for so long I thought it had to be true.

Thanks for the input everyone!
 

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Static stretching was found to reduce muscle strength a long time ago. I think the USTA quit recommending it in the 1970s. Dynamic stretching or none.
 

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Muscles need to be properly warmed up and stretching is not warming up. Warming up is gradually increasing intensity in a steady state to warm up slow twitch muscle fiber followed by some hard intervals to warm up fast twitch muscle fibers.

Stretching causes muscle damage just like exercise. It is effective when muscles are warm and should be performed after exercise.

That is what my research revealed. Counter to old practices but based upon science.
 
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