This is a guest post by Joy, our friend at Boom who also happens to be a kick-ass Physio! In this blogpost she's shared with us some insider knowledge on stretching to work alongside your favourite way to exercise AKA Boom Cycling, prehab/rehab and the importance of seeing a physio.
If there’s one thing we all agree on about stretching, it is that it plays a significant role in injury prevention. But why do some people still leave class after 45 amazing minutes of putting your muscles through a feel good, high intensity boom sesh without stretching?
My video here explains 10 reasons why regular stretching is super important including regulating blood sugar, increasing blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, as well as the fact that injuries are not fun to deal with – even for a physio!
Watched my video, still want to know more? Here are some answers to FAQs I get asked almost daily!
SHOULD I STRETCH BEFORE OR AFTER EXERCISE?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Luckily, at Boom Cycle, there is a lot of emphasis on stretching pre and post rides. Follow the instructions to the best of your ability and if you can help it, please don’t leave class until stretching is complete. Your recovery enhances your performance on and off the bike.
Stretching is an exercise in its own right. You must also stretch whilst you’re at your desk at work, even on the days you’re not training. It’s the little things you do throughout the day that go a long way to maintain all that muscle and joint flexibility.
WHAT ARE THE 3 BEST STRETCHES FOR CYCLISTS TO DO?
There aren’t any best stretches for anyone to do. Get into the routine of doing a full body stretch.
We all know we don’t have the luxury of being lazy and sitting on the bike for too long at Boom – thankfully. Think ‘the flex’, the 4 & 8 count jumps and my God, those 2 kg weights that feel like 10kg! These are all amazing ideas the team has come up with to ensure we have a full body workout on the bike! All these muscles need stretches too.
Be sure to attend my upcoming event at the Hammersmith for some practical demonstrations and ideas of which stretches to do for different joints and muscles. Click here to get your complimentary ticket for you and a friend.
HOW LONG SHOULD I STRETCH FOR?
Studies show that 30-second holds are best (no bouncing at the end of range). Repeat 3 times and then 3-4 times a day. However, I advise my patients in clinic that this could of course be time dependent. When you’re at your desk at work doing neck and shoulder, you could hold each stretch for 5 seconds (it’s better than nothing).
STATIC OR DYNAMIC STRETCHES?
Both. Traditionally, stretches are static but we are dynamic beings. The sole purpose of stretching is to prepare the muscles for movement so it only makes sense that we do stretches that involve movement also.
WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN I IMPROVE MY FLEXIBILITY?
Try yoga classes at least once a week. These are great for core strength too.
Another great way to improve flexibility is by making sure you’re in control of your breathing when you stretch. Slow your breathing down. Your mind needs to understand that you’re switching gears into a more calming position.
Take deeper breaths to expand your diaphragm. This means your ribs are going outwards to the side. Shallow breaths mean the top of your chest moves forwards and that’s what we do when we panic, which causes your muscles to resist the stretch (especially as most stretches when done well can be uncomfortable).
SHOULD I CONTINUE STRETCHING IF IT IS PAINFUL?
No. Stretches should feel uncomfortable but not painful. If you’re experiencing a great deal of pain, it may be that you have a muscle tear or some joint inflammation, in which case, stretching could aggravate things. You definitely want to see a physiotherapist for that.
DO I NEED TO SEE A PHYSIO?
Yes. Everyone does, especially when you train. How often will depend on what your body needs. This could vary from weekly to once every 6-8 weeks.
It amazes me that by law our cars must have MOT tests and services in order to keep them running smoothly but us humans don’t prioritise our health until we are ‘broken’ and even then, we still choose to ignore most things.
Prehab (prevention) is so much better than rehab after an injury. My goal as a physiotherapist is therefore to keep you doing the things you love – injury free!
To kick you off, I currently have some amazing discounts exclusively to Boom Cycle members – 15% of all sessions at any of my clinics (Cannon street and White City). I also do home/work visits for those who can’t make it into clinic.
Very excited to meet you all at our upcoming events. Be sure to pick up your tickets. There will be time at the end to ask any burning physio related questions you have.
Joy will be hosting a workshop where all your burning questions about stretching will be answered! She will be covering topics such as...
Come in loose clothes and be prepared to join in a fun 10 minute stretch at the end.
Date: Saturday April 13th 2019
Time: 12:15pm (1h workshop)
Location: Boom Cycle Hammersmith, 10 Hammersmith Grove, W6 7AP
Tickets are complimentary for all but spaces are strictly limited, so make sure you RSVP through Eventbrite (link below) to save your spot!