Yoga Sports Coach™ and Author, Lexie Williamson, introduces the first of her new blog series, a Yogi in Sport.
‘Why Do Cyclists Need Yoga?’ was the title of my talk at the Dare 2b Festival of Cycling. Thousands of fans had gathered at Harewood House, Yorkshire to watch the 2014 Tour de France riders stream out onto the dales.
I was invited as a Yoga Sports Coach ™ and author of Yoga for Cyclists (Bloomsbury Publishing) to offer some benefits to the festival crowd.
Why Do Cyclists Need Yoga? is a valid question. After all, they don’t swing a club 180 degrees like golfers, side lunge like tennis players or require the multi-directional movement skills of a footballer.
In fact, cyclists desire as little upper body movement as possible and this is one reason to turn to yoga. The lateral stabilizing muscles of the legs, hips and torso can become tight from holding riders in a fixed, flexed position.
Road riding posture is the second main reason to try yoga. It may be an aerodynamic ideal but is tough on the muscles of the lower back. With a spine in deep flexion the rider is also forced to extend the head, leading to discomfort in the neck and upper back.
Moving downwards, the legs are never fully straightened, creating tight hamstrings. Some muscles are also overworked, like the cyclist’s famous bulging quads, while others are underused.