Most of us spend more time working on the front of our bodies than the back. Blame it on only being able to see the front of yourself in the mirror…maybe. You see proof of this when you stand up and instead of the palms of your hand facing in front of you or even towards your legs, they face behind you. Blame it on long hours spent driving, reaching towards your computer or a big desire to build up your pecs while not spending the same amount of energy doing back exercises.
While it is very common to have upper body imbalances, it is just as common to find someone who has overactive quads and under active hamstrings. Some of these problems are caused by the hamstrings being too tight and shutting down—yes—stretching does help this. I have seen men who couldn’t bring their hands to their knees be able to reach their mid calves with consistent effort over time. Flexibility is definitely something you can recover as you age, IF you work on it.
It is really common for cyclists to have these imbalances. It is critical that if you are going on long rides, that you are using your hamstrings to pull your pedals up instead of only pushing down with your quads. This can really only happen effectively if you are clipped in to your bike. If you have been free-pedaling with your tennis shoes and that sounds too intimidating, start with cages. Eventually it’s going to be important to transition from cages to clips, especially if you are going over 25 miles. Regardless of how you are contacting your bike, make sure there is push and pull through all parts of your pedal stroke.
Photo Credit; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=178