Question for the forum: For cyclists, does stretching help recovery?

I do stretch regularly. Usually just a couple of 20 second stretches for each of quad, it band, hamstring, glute, hip. Pretty minimal vs what most stretching zealots would recommend, I guess.

Does it help with my recovery? I don’t know. I sure feel a lot better after I stretch.

What does everybody else do/think?

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I like to put 25 mins aside once/twice a week to have a good stretch.
Usually use the below videos -

My legs feel absolutely great after I must say…


I do add a few minutes of stretching into my strength exercises. I do this 2 or 3 times a week. I also walk to work everyday, which I think provides its own benefits.

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It’ll help both with recovery and time on the bike.

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I use the same video as above quite regularly, not sure about recovery but certainly helps with reducing risk of injury. Can’t remember where I heard it but lots of issues with joints are essentially caused by the tight muscles and tendons around the joints rather than the joints themselves.


Stretch after every workout, foam roll at night before bed. Use the foot wheel upon waking and before bed. Not sure if any quantitative results, but the qualitative results is I feel better and more enthusiastic for the next workout if I’m not stiff.


Stretching helps prevent injury.

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According to this study on endurance runners stretching isn’t actually that beneficial:
Impact of stretching on the performance and injury risk of long-distance runners

In conclusion, the literature suggests that stretching poses no significant advantage to endurance runners. Acute stretching can reduce running economy and performance for up to an hour by diminishing the musculotendinous stiffness and elastic energy potential. Chronic stretching additionally appears to have no advantageous effects. In regards to DOMS, it has been reported consistently in the literature that stretching cannot reduce its longevity or intensity. In relation to injury risk, stretching shows little significance for endurance runners to chronic injury. Endurance athletes are at high risk of overuse injuries such as illiotibial band syndrome, stress fractures and plantar fasciitis, and the literature suggests that stretching cannot reduce the prevalence of these injuries. It appears stretching may hold significance for certain exercise disciplines; however, it can be concluded that it holds no advantage for endurance runners and is not the solution to improving performance or reducing injury prevalence.


Graeme Obree “The Flying Scottsman” swears by it.

Even if it offered no quantitative benefits I wouldn’t stop as I feel amazing post-stretching post-workout.

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Building on my earlier comment about preventing injuries –

  1. You don’t necessarily need to stretch before working out - afterwards is best for injury prevention.
  2. Everyone is different and it will benefit/not benefit/affect everyone differently
  3. If you’re looking for a reason not to stretch, you’ll probably find one

Most importantly, I had an injury that was 100% due lack of stretching – although I’m a pretty inflexible person, in general.

The injury is known as a bulging disc. I’ve also been hit by a car before while on my bike and spent a lot of time in the hospital.

If you told me I had to repeat either the bulging disc injury or the car collision again, I would absolutely choose the car collision.

Just establish a baseline of flexibility for where you are right now – and then don’t get more inflexible. But depending on how hard/often you workout, you’ll get tighter without stretching…and if you continue to get tighter and tighter, you’ll eventually have an injury.

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Don’t stretch, avoid it as much as possible.

Then note later that it will absolutely be a part of the physical therapy plan you undertake so that you can hopefully resume training.



That was my understanding. I do like to stretch, but it’s when I take a shower and I just try to touch my toes!

100% helps

[quote=“GT7, post:11, topic:5910”]
note later that it will absolutely be a part of the physical therapy plan
[/quote]And still it will have no sound basis in science or medicine…go figure!

Ha ha, agreed. No clue if it helps with recovery, but it certainly keeps me limber and feeling better post workout. My trainer rides are usually between work and dinner, from say 4-6pm. Sometimes in a hurry I don’t do 5 minutes stretching after my ride, and by the time dinner is over my legs are stiff.

Actually, I do 3-5 minutes of upper body stretching during the cool down, while still pedaling on the trainer. Followed by 5 minutes stretching the legs. Regardless, as long as I do that 5 minute series of stretching I’m fine the rest of the evening.

as yet another anecdote… I had a bad incident a few years back as I was getting back in to riding after my daughter was born. One day, I had to rush off the bike and get her ready for school since my wife was away on business. i did not get to do my normal stretching routine… later that day I started to develop some crazy back spasms. I have never had back spasms like this before, and was also associated with ramping up some deadlifting, but they were directly related to tight hams/glutes. Some muscles will tug on your sciatic nerve when they tighten up and can give you spasms. I’ve had light back spasms before from tight calves. This is of course not a true injury, but would have kept me from training if it hadn’t already been valentine’s day weekend and my wife and I had a couples massage scheduled. Talk about lucky timing.

Stretching is good

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I stretch every day during and after workouts but not a lot. If i don’t stretch the back of my lower legs, my achilles tendons start to tighten after a few weeks.

If I start to feel some tightness developing in the legs or lower back during the day, I use the foam roller and/or a hand held percussion massager rather than stretching.

Using the percussion massager on the quads before workouts is a great warm-up and loosener for legs that don’t seem overly responsive.

Stretching is difficult to quantify in any kind of study but anecdata suggests it (and other mobility work) can be good for you to increase your range of movement.