Riding the trainer keeps your body in a fixed position even more so than riding outdoors.  This can affect the neck, middle back, hip, and lower extremity muscles causing them to become shortened, painful, and lose their ability to produce power.  This, of course, is unacceptable and the exact opposite effect we want after spending time on Zwift.  So, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes stretching your legs out after you beat them up, your body will thank you.

The Rules

  • The ideal best time to stretch statically is POST WORKOUT.
  • Stretches should be held for 30 seconds minimum.  Physiologically, it takes your muscle fibers ~30 seconds to relax enough to make static stretching beneficial and allow the muscle fibers to lengthen.  If you have the time to hold them for longer, go for it!
  • Stretches should be performed in a comfortable range of motion, so no crying because it hurts so much, but you also want to feel like you are doing something too.
  • Alternate each side with each consecutive stretch, so as 1 side is resting, the other side is being stretched.
  • Perform the stretches 2-3 times each.

The Stretches

1. Calf + Cat

Come up to a standing position with your hands rested comfortably on the hoods.  Keep your weight equal on hands/feet.  Drop your head, roll your mid-back/shoulders, and lengthen your lower back.  Then, drop your heels down to stretch out your calves too.  I suggest switching your feet after each rep.


2. Calf + Camel

Same as above, but this time lift your head up, arch your mid-back and try to bring your hips up to mobilize the joints of your spine.  Keep your heels down to keep stretching out those calves.  I suggest switching your feet after each rep.


3. Hip Flexor

Hop off the bike.  Hold onto your bars with 1 hand for balance.  Take a big step forward, keep your back leg straight, bend your front knee, and move your body forward until you feel a stretch at the front of the hip on the back leg.  For a little more stretch, raise your arm up on the same side and lean back.


4. Quads

Hold onto your bars for balance.  Grab your foot and pull your heel towards your bum until a stretch is felt in front of the thigh.  For more of a stretch, pull and extend your leg backward.


5. Hamstrings

Hold onto your bars for balance.  Extend a leg out in front of you, keep your knee straight, flex your heel up, and run your hand down your leg until a stretch is felt at the back of the thigh.

6. Glutes

Pick a comfortable surface to lay flat on.  Bring your leg up, bend your knee, and pull your knee towards your chest until a stretch is felt in the glutes.


7. Piriformis

The same position as above, but this time put your ankle on your opposite knee.  Reach between your legs for your thigh, and pull your knee towards your chest until a stretch is felt deep in the glutes.


Shayne Gaffney

About the Author Shayne Gaffney

Shayne holds a bachelors degree in Health Science in Professional Development and Advanced Patient Care, is a licensed physical therapy assistant in Massachusetts, a USA Cycling Level 1 (expert level) certified Coach, a USA Cycling Power Based Training certified Coach, Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified Coach, a US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) affiliated Coach, and USA Olympic Committee Safe Sport certified. He is the Founder of GC Coaching, Workout Content Editor at Zwift, the creator of P2 Coached Computraining, and the creator of Zwift’s “Build Me Up”, "Pebble Pounder", and "201: Your First 5K" Flexible Training Plans. He has been published in Bicycling Magazine, the TrainingPeaks blog, and Zwift Insider. He can be contacted directly via info@gaffneycyclingcoaching.com


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