WHY STRETCH?
 
You know you need to stretch. You think about it occasionally, and sometimes you even stretch every day for a few weeks or so. But far too often many cyclists neglect stretching altogether, and don't even think about it until they get an injury. Cyclists always have good reasons for not stretching. You'll probably recognize some of the excuses below:
 
I don't have time (Definitely the most popular excuse!)
 
I don't know how to stretch (Many cyclists either perform stretches incorrectly or do stretches that they shouldn't, so this excuse ranks right up there!)
 
I know people who are good cyclists who never stretch at all, so why should I? (And some cyclists can eat hamburgers and fries the night before a race too, but they're definitely in the minority!)
 
I tried stretching once and pulled a muscle, so now I don't do it anymore (This excuse is closely related to #2)
   
Stretching is good for you for many reasons:
 
Flexibility increases your overall physical fitness
 
Being flexible reduces your risk of sustaining an injury
 
Stretching reduces muscle tension
 
Stretching helps you relax, both physically and mentally
 
Stretching enhances your range of motion
   
Stretching isn't an elaborate ritual that takes hours to perform. In fact, a good stretching routine can last as little as 5-10 minutes. Perform the three stretches described below before and after you cycle, and to further improve your flexibility, do the "Good Morning" when you first get out of bed every day. Do these Three Stretches for Maximum Effect in Minimum Time:
 Good Morning:
  Stand with your feet a hip's width apart. Contract your lower back muscles, which will lock your lumbar spine in its normal, slightly arched curve. Hold your spine rigid, and keeping your legs straight, bend forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Push your hips back as you bend forward. Hold for five to ten seconds, rise up and repeat 4-5 times.
   
 Squat:
  With your feet a hip's width apart. Keep your feet flat on the floor, your trunk erect and lower back in its normal curvature. Slowly bend your knees into a squat position. As you move into the squat, your hips should move slightly back and your trunk should incline slightly forward. Your back should remain in its normal curve. Stop just before your thigh is parallel to the ground. Rise up (slowly!), relax and repeat 4-5 times. Make sure your heels stay in contact with the ground, which will stretch your Achilles tendon.
   
 Lunge:
  Stand with your feet a hip's width apart. Take a long step forward and plant your foot. Keep your toes facing forward. Slowly lower your body as you keep your trunk erect. Your rear leg should be straight but relaxed. You'll feel a stretch in your hip flexors. Hold the down position for three to five seconds, then push off with the forward leg and rise back up. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do the stretch 4-5 times with each leg.