Stretches To Do Before And After A Spin Class At Home

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission.
robbie ferri headshot
By Robbie Ferri CPT

CPT & Indoor Cycling Instructor

Indoor cycling is a huge amount of fun. There’s nothing like taking a bit of time each day to challenge yourself and work on those fitness goals you might have. We often get asked about the value of stretching alongside indoor cycling. 

Stretching is an amazing addition to any workout. It has a huge amount of benefits. It’s very relaxing, really fun to do, and one of the best ways of using exercise to help you with many general day-to-day tasks. Stretching is also commonly used by physiotherapists in rehabilitation programs. In this article, we’re going to be speaking about:

  • What Is Stretching?
  • What Are The Benefits Of Stretching?
  • What Are The Different Types Of Stretching?
  • How Do You Stretch?
  • Pre Spin Class Stretches
  • Post Spin Class Stretches
Stretches To Do Before And After A Spin Class

What is stretching?

Before we go into telling you all about different types of stretching and stretches, it’s important to understand what it fundamentally is. The stretching process is elongating or lengthening of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. By doing this repetitively, you can adapt your muscles to be stronger, more flexible, and have a much better range of motion.

What are the benefits of stretching?

There’s a huge amount of benefit to stretching, and as far as exercise goes, it is by far up there with the best things you can do for your body. There are many reasons why Yoga and Pilates are just incredibly popular and continue to grow. Here are the benefits you need to know about when it comes to stretching:

  • Improved Flexibility: The first thing about stretching, which is an incredible benefit, is improved flexibility. By doing a lot of stretching, you can become a lot more flexible. Being more flexible can help with lots of day to day tasks. It could help you pick something off the floor easier or reach a higher shelf. Extra flexibility goes a long way for many, and it is easy to lose if not practiced.
  • Better Range of Motion: Not only does stretching hugely increase flexibility, but it also does wonders for your range of motion. Range of motion refers to how far you can stretch a muscle and the range it can effectively work in. 
  • Injury Prevention: Stretching has been proven to hugely help reduce the risk of injury. It helps loosens the muscles off and gives you the flexibility and range of motion to stop yourself from getting strains or pulling muscles.
  • Improved Circulation: Stretching has a great ability to improve circulation. It helps improve blood flow which can aid the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. Many specialists recommend Yoga and pilates to older adults who struggle with circulation issues. 
  • Better Posture: Stretching is a great way to improve your posture. If you spend a lot of time driving or at a desk, a small stretching session can be the difference between you standing up nice and tall or slouching forward.
  • Improved Balance and Coordination: Increasing your flexibility and range of motion can increase your balance and coordination. Stretching has a great ability to help you perfect your balance and give you excellent coordination.
  • Reduced Stress: When you stretch, you release muscle tension. This is a great way to relieve stress and can even release dopamine, making you feel happier. There’s nothing like a good yoga session to improve your mood. 
  • Joint Health: Finally, we have joint health. Embracing the stretch and using the full mobility of a joint is excellent for joint health. Not only does it help you keep your range of movement, but it also helps lubricate the joint.

Different Types Of Stretching

What many fitness enthusiasts don’t know is that stretching comes in many different forms. Knowing these different forms of stretching can help you find the perfect exercises for you to complement that spinning class. Here are the most common types. 

  • Static Stretching: The most common type you will find, and it’s what you will see mainly used in Yoga. It’s where you take a stretch to a certain point and hold it for 20-30 seconds. Then you repeat it a few times. It’s a great way to cool down. 
  • Dynamic Stretching: Where you use more active movements. You do stretching style movements but without the pause and hold as you would have on the static stretching. It’s an excellent way to warm up. 
  • Ballistic Stretching: Where you use bouncing style movements to force muscles past their normal range of motion to help push them further and increase the range. 

How Do You Stretch?

This might seem like a silly question, but it’s important to ask. Many people don’t stretch properly, and improper stretching is not something you want to make a habit of, as it can cause injury and ruin the experience. 

When you first start stretching, the moves will feel really awkward and not natural at all. Getting used to the positions takes time, and although they may not feel very comfortable to start with, they will do in time. You will be excellent at some, and you might find yourself absolutely awful at others.

Ensure you don’t push too hard when stretching. It’s not a competition to see who has the most flexibility. You need to work at your level, as pushing it too hard will risk injury and won’t necessarily make your process any quicker.

 If you have been advised not to stretch by a medical professional, then you are going to want to avoid it. Only some people are made for certain positions, and if you have any doubts, we recommend seeking professional guidance, as everyone is built differently. 

Pre Spin Session Stretches

Stretching before a spinning session is an excellent idea and comes with many benefits. Firstly it loosens the body up, making it ready for exercise and releasing any tension before the workout. It can even improve performance and ability while on the bike and will improve your comfort for the ride. 

Now let’s speak about some exercises and how to do them. To warm up, it’s important to start with dynamic stretches. This gets the blood pumping properly and the muscles ready for the bike. Here are our recommendations.

Exercise Number 1 High Side Reaches

As a spinning instructor, a great way I used to warm up a crowd was to get some side reaches done. These are excellent for your core and loosen off the top of the body and get the legs moving.

Standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart, you are going to want to take your right arm across to the left side of your body and drive it as high as you can in the air. Then relax your right hand, take your left hand, and drive it to the right side of your body. Keep repeating this for 30 seconds. 

Exercise Number 2 Low Side Reaches

Next, we want to get lower and do the same with some low side reaches. It’s a great way to engage the glutes, stretch the hamstrings, and activate the core. This is another dynamic stretch which is the next level up from the high side reaches.

Stand up with your feet nice and wide apart. Here you want to take your left arm and lean across to your right foot, stretching across as far as you can. Then return to the starting position, use your right arm, and work across to your left foot. Keep alternating sides and keep it fast and active. 

Exercise Number 3 Hip Rotations

If there’s one part of your body that you want ready for a spin class, it’s your hips. It’s very important to get these loosened up and ready. There’s a really easy way to do this, and we call it hip rotations. 

Standing shoulder width apart, bring the right knee up towards your chest, then while it is still in the air take it right and open up the hip outwards towards the right-hand side. When you have gone as far as you can, lower the leg and repeat with the left hip on the left-hand side. 

Exercise Number 4 Bodyweight Squats

Although not your typical stretch, it’s a great exercise to get the glutes, and the hamstrings fired up and stretched, all ready for a workout. Squats are an exercise that is really easy to do and excellent for core and lower back support. 

With your feet shoulder width apart, put your hands out in front of you, keep your back straight, and bend your knees to lower yourself to the floor. Get nice and low, then return to the starting position. Repeat this ten times.

Exercise Number 5 Side Lunges

Now it’s time to ramp up the pressure in the legs and on the core. A side lunge is an excellent stretch that requires core strength and balance. Stand with your legs nice and wide apart, then keep your back nice and straight, lean across to the left and side, and situate your torso above your left knee. 

After you have done this, return to the center and repeat on the other side. With this, we recommend that the motion be nice and slow and try to get lower each time but ensure that your back stays straight and you balance well. 

Post Spin Session Stretches

Stretching after a spin class comes with great benefits. It removes the lactic acid from your muscles, helps reduce your recovery time, and is a great way to cool down. With your body being warm while doing this process, you can really get into these stretches and work on that flexibility. 

After a spin class, we work on static stretching. We recommend nice long holds and controlling your breathing when doing these exercises. Remember, this is part of your cool down.  

Exercise Number 1 Cat-Cow

The first exercise is the Cat Cow. This is one of the best exercises when it comes to post-spinning. It helps relieve the stress on the lower back and remove the tension giving you more flexibility. Start with your body in a tabletop position. This is where you’re on your hands and knees. Your shoulders should be above your wrists, and hips above your knees. 

Drop your back as close to the floor as you can and raise your head to look as high above as you can. This is the cow pose. Then, for the cat pose, drop your head down and push your back as high to the ceiling as possible. Repeat these two actions with a hold between each, taking your time breathing slowly and deeply. 

Exercise Number 2 Downward Dog to Lunge

The second exercise is the downward dog to the lunge. This great exercise really loosens off those hips and core. The first pose you need to get in is a Downward Dog. So get on your hands and knees, hold your back straight, and raise your bum to the air.

From there, you are going to want to bring either foot forward and get yourself into a lunge position while straightening the back and bringing the opposite leg out. Do this a few times on each side with a hold in each position, and let it open up your hips and release the back.

Exercise Number 3 Heel Digs Hamstring Stretch 

Next, we have heel digs and hamstring stretches. These are a great way to loosen off the Achilles tendon and also help stretch the hamstrings and calves. Cyclists are well known for tight hamstrings, so this can help avoid that.  

You are going to want to stand up straight and dig one of your heels into the floor, then support yourself with your other foot. Slightly bend down and stretch out the back of your legs by leaning forward. If you want to feel more engaged, take yourself lower and more forward. 

Exercise Number 4 Cobra Pose

Next, we have the Cobra pose, and this personally is my favorite stretch. It’s great for the hips and the lower back and feels satisfying while doing it. It is one of the most popular stretches in Yoga, and we can see why. 

Laying flat on the floor on your front, you are going to use your hands to push the upper half of your body up while keeping the hips down. Start easy and repeat five times. You will feel yourself stretching further each time. 

Exercise Number 5 Quad Stretch

The muscle set you are heavily engaging when spinning is your quads. These will need a big stretch, and you will want to take your time with this one. The quad stretch is an easy one to do, but we recommend, if you’re new to this, to stand by your bike for support.

Stand shoulder width apart and with your left hand, grab your left ankle and pull it towards your bum. This will tighten up the quads and stretch them out. Repeat on the right and side after. Doing this a few times will give you the most benefit. 

A Final Note

Stretching can add so much value to a workout and we highly recommend chucking it into your training sessions. It will feel challenging the first few times, but it will be a natural part of your training after a while. 

Robbie Ferri CPT

Robbie from “Riding with Robbie” is a Personal Trainer living in in Norfolk, UK. He has bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. He has worked closely with industry leaders such as Shimano.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.