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Stretching

Last updated 2011-03-08 - Send Feedback
Related: training

It is my observation (using a power meter in real time): tight hamstrings reduce power output by resisting the quadriceps.

A power increase of 10-15 watts after I stop and stretch the hammies out is not uncommon. Not only does this free up the quadriceps from resistance of their own and from the hamstrings, I typically can increase cadence another 5 rpm or so. The extra power is likely due both to reduced resistance (tightness) as well as allowing the legs to coordinate quads/hamstrings better on each pedal stroke.

When to stretch

I rarely stretch before a ride. It’s not smart for one thing— muscles are cold and stiff, the worst possible time to stretch.

Instead, ride easily for 10-15 minutes, then stretch.

Stretching after the workout is a smart move, contributing to long term flexibility. Stretching in a nice warm shower can be much more enjoyable too.

See also Using a Foam Roller.

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