Is sitting cross-legged while chanting “Om” amid middle-aged ladies the answer to your bike racing limitations? “No way!” I hear you say. But hold on, not so fast: yoga could be a useful addition to your fitness armoury.
Weird rituals, strange clothing and a kind-of secret society feeling. Yes, the world of cycling and yoga are indeed similar. But a bit of stretching in your cycling world might well be what you need. A lot of us cyclists are inflexible, particularly in the hips and hamstrings, and yoga not only makes you more elastic but is often an excellent core workout as well.
Instead of heading off to the local yoga class, it might be a good idea to just buy a sticky yoga mat (essential) and try it out yourself. There are gazillions of yoga classes available on Youtube. Just google “yoga for cyclists” and take your pick. Loads of options.
“Dog pose head down”
The key in my view (I’m an old guy who does a tiny bit of yoga each morning to help a bad back, and races bikes on road, mud and beach almost all year round) is doing your thing regularly. Don’t bother with the fancy contortions: dog pose head down is a great start. Just that. Think of is as another weapon in your armoury. Yoga as a cross-training technique.
Less is often more
Regularity is the key. Even if it’s literally five minutes. Five minutes in dog-pose-head-down position is actually quite tough, by the way. But dog pose is great for hamstring and hip flexibility — two of the bodyparts that are often less than flexible among us cyclists.
So, start with buying a mat and doing one pose. Then decide if you are going to do more.
Certainly, if you are an older guy (older guys in particular are inflexible) then even a tiny bit of yoga could pay dividends for your racing. You might even end up going to a yoga class one day, and even enjoying it! Ommmmm.