I’ve asked peloton community members and fitness professionals for their advice about the best peloton stretching classes they did so far. Here are the best 4 that made it to the top of the list.
Best Peloton Stretching Classes
I don’t think that peloton stretch classes receive enough love (compared to other classes). Currently, you can find over 960 stretch classes available on the peloton app.
Shorter classes take you anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes (which is more like doing a warm-up or cool-down before or after your workout).
In case you’re wondering, the longest peloton stretch class takes 30 minutes, and is taught by one of the senior peloton instructors, Rebecca Kennedy.
Here, at Millennialhawk, we tested many of them, as well as interviewed other peloton users in the social media community who regularly stretch.
We also reached out to fitness experts for their advice on the best tips on when you should be using stretch classes in your weekly workout plan.
1. Full Body Stretch
It’s hard to miss full body stretch because this is the most popular peloton stretching class (currently, there are almost 200 classes).
This class will cover all your major muscle groups like glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
Even if you running out of time, the class duration range between 5 to 20 minutes so it’s easy to find one that fits into your busy schedule.
What I like
This class can help you feel less sore and more supple after the wokrouts, which in return can benefit your recovery.
For instance, I noticed that by adding 10 minutes of full body stretch after strenuous peloton climb rides, I feel less tired the day after.
I also like this class because it is easy to follow (even if you haven’t done stretching for years, the positions aren’t complicated).
You can sprinkle this class throughout your week (ideally after your main peloton workout) to help you combat the postural adaptations and restore your full range of motion.
- I recommend you do full-body stretches only after your main peloton workout because the muscles are warmed up.
- You don’t want to stretch the muscles without the warm-up (when the body is cold). You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles.
What I don’t like
In peloton full body stretch, you won’t be able to significantly improve your range of motion.
Yes, you can get loosened and more flexible, but if you’re looking for a way to touch your toes or do the split, try doing peloton yoga instead.
(Peloton yoga is more advanced. It has dozens of different sub-categories, so you can find a class that fits your current flexibility level.)
2. Post-Ride Stretch
Post-ride stretch and full-body stretch are slightly different. Here, you will stretch mostly muscles that have been used during the cycling class.
(You won’t be stretching all muscle groups.)
This is your typical post-exercise short stretch specifically designed to be done after every peloton ride (sometimes done on the bike).
Again, don’t think that this class will get you more flexible, but you will feel looser and more energized after.
The good thing is that most of the peloton instructors like to remind you to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes stretching after the class (so it’s hard to forget about it).
What I like
In each class, you will hold the stretches for 20 to 30 seconds before moving on to the next one. This will give you enough time to get rid of muscle stiffness.
Don’t skip this part and you will quickly notice that 5-10 minute stretching after your workout helps to reduce muscle stiffness, so you recover faster before your next ride.
This stretch class also puts a lot of time and effort into hamstring stretches.
Depending on how often you are using the peloton, it can be bad for the hamstrings because the body remains in one fixed position on the bike (which leads to muscle fatigue.)
Constant hip flexion puts pressure on the hamstrings and over time leads to the shortening of the muscle, according to Tarek Khalil, a president of Nike University and a biomechanics expert.
(Cyclists are notoriously known for developing muscle tension in the hamstrings, quads, and calves.)
So stretching those muscles right after the class can help you to prevent muscle soreness and injury.
“People who don’t stretch are missing the basic range of motion. This can lead to pattern adaptation and causes the body to compensate,” says Dr. Khalil.
What I don’t like
I find these classes to be a little short (too short for me). I personally like to spend more time stretching after becasue my muscles are always stiff like wood (that’s if I have more time available).
If your muscles are very stiff, you can try doing a longer session, or simply do two post-ride stretches, back to back.
3. Pre-Ride Warm Up
Pre and post-ride stretch classes are also different. In the pre-ride warm-up, you will do a combination of dynamic stretches and mobility drills that helps you get ready for the class.
Dynamic stretching means you don’t hold the stretch for longer. You reduce the stretching time while incorporating a movement.
You will also do muscle activation exercises designed to enhance muscle contraction.
This class is a good choice if you haven’t been exercising for a long time, and you need extra help to engage some of the postural muscles (glutes and core) to lower the risk of lower back pain.
What I like
Spending 5-10 minutes on dynamic stretching and warm-up drills before your main ride can increase your performance (try this class before your next peloton FTP test and compare results).
Sarah, the peloton community member, said that “doing peloton pre-ride stretching helped me not only improve my FTP score but also substantially reduce knee pain that nagged me for ages”.
On the other hand, I don’t recommend doing regular stretching classes before your rides.
Doing 10 minutes of static stretching (or more) could potentially lower your performance because it lowers muscle stiffness that is partially responsible to generate the optimal power output.
Taichi Yamaguchi, Ph.D., an expert from Rakuno Gakuen University in Japan, tested this thesis on a group of 12 healthy male subjects in his study.
“Static stretching elongates the muscle fibers, reduces tension, and stimulates parasympathetic activity. This impairs muscle performance by reducing the stiffness essential to generate power,” says Dr. Yamaguchi.
(You still can do stretching before your workout, but make sure you stick to dynamic stretching, just like in pre-ride class.)
In fact, you may find that doing dynamic stretching for 5-10 minutes before your ride can make your endurance rides easier, thanks to the optimal range of motion.
What I don’t like
I find these classes slightly, boring. (Sorry, Bradley.) Unfortunately, you will find that most of the re-ride classes are done with similar stretching exercises.
They also lack intensity.
This means it’s hard to increase your heart rate to the point where you feel “ready to go”. (At least in these short 5-minute classes.)
If you train first thing in the morning, I don’t recommend doing 5 minutes classes. For me, they barely increase my heart rate (which is exactly what I need before the class if I just woke up).
If you train in the morning and your body feels stiff after you wake up, I recommend you do a longer, 10-15 minute peloton pre-ride stretch class.
4. Post-Run Stretch
If you like to run and you’re one of the people who plan ahead your training volume and mileage, this is the perfect stretch class.
The class last for 5 to 10 minutes (mostly static stretching) so it’s better if you do this after your running.
In the peloton post-run stretching program, you will hold the stretch between 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the muscle.
What I like
This class will help you significantly reduce muscle tightness and restore optimal range of motion.
If you’re just getting started, it will also help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and speed up recovery.
Pro tip: This stretch should be done as your post-workout, but feel free to stop the tread (or just stop running if you’re doing outdoor runs) and do a 5-minute class as your of mid-run mobility drill.
I find that doing a stretching class in the middle of the run helps me to defuse some of this muscle stiffness. It makes my legs feel lighter and I can add more distance with less amount of effort.
So it may allow you to run for longer, or with less pain.
What I don’t like
I find that some of the stretches are more “advanced” and hard to maintain.
If you’re just getting started, or you simply are not that flexible to cross your leg and put your ankle on your knee (while maintaining a straight lower back) I recommend doing full body stretching as your post-ride mobility.
Peloton stretching tips
Regardless if you want to touch your toes or run a marathon, consistency in stretching can help you reach your goals faster becasue it improves recovery.
Here at Millennialhawk, we’re obsessed with hacks and tips on how to improve health and performance, and recovery is a big part of this process.
Here are some of the pro tips about how to use stretching classes from fitness experts and peloton community members that were happy to share with us.
Start your day with dynamic stretches
For me, it is better to dynamic stretch in the morning. You may find that stretching helps you to reduce stress and cortisol levels right from the start.
Most people have the highest cortisol levels in the morning after they wake up.
Doing warm-ups and 10 to 20 minutes of stretching helps to down-regulate fight or flight activity by stimulating parasympathetic response.
Stretch every day
If you stretch every day, your body solidifies muscle adaptations and increases the maximum muscle elongation capacity.
Over time, this increases your ability to tolerate higher stretch loads, which leads to an improved range of motion.
This way you are more likely to maintain the optimal length-tension relationship in the muscles.
Focus on your hips
If you’re like most people, you probably spend your day seated behind the desk. Certain positions (e.g sitting) shorten the muscle around the hip area and creates tension.
You can reduce that tension by adding peloton stretching classes into your workout plan and sticking to it.
For instance, doing hip stretches is good if you’re dealing with sciatica problems or lower back pain.
Start from shorter classes
The easiest way you can develop a habit of stretching is by adding shorter, 5-minute classes after your session.
All you need to do is to open a new class, immediately after your main peloton workout. Once you’re there, simply follow the post-ride or post-run stretch routine from the instructor.
The class takes 5 minutes and it focuses on the biggest muscles of the body like the quads, hamstrings, arms, chest, and calves.
Stretch your calves after every peloton ride
You should stretch your calves after peloton rides to help you reduce tightness, improve muscle perfusion and help to eliminate lactate buildup.
Calves can get tight very quickly.
Incorrect pedaling technique, fixed position of the foot, or sudden increase in the training volume – these are just a handful of causes that can make your calves feel like a rock.
Stretching your calves can also help if you’re having foot-related problems like plantar fasciitis.
A good solution is to add post-ride and pre-ride stretch classes becasue they contain several calf stretches that help to reduce muscle tension and soothe heel pain.
Steve, a member of the peloton community and a certified personal trainer, says “I recommend spending around 10-15 minutes after each ride (or run) to make sure you don’t keep your muscles tight”.
Of course, stretching after rides can help you (to some degree) with muscle soreness, but it won’t prevent stiffness completely.
So keep that in mind.
Use toe cages
One trick that I’ve learned from one of the community members, Alex, was to change Delta cleats for peloton toe cages (this way it reduces the leg stiffness and makes stretching less painful).
According to Alex, the cycling shoes are clipped into the pedals, which puts a lot of pressure on the gastrocnemius-soleus complex.
Changing the pedals and replacing cycling shoes with regular tennis puts less pressure on the legs.
(I don’t have data that supports this. However, I’ve put that theory into practice and it worked!).
Always warm up before stretching
If you’re doing stretching by itself, make sure you’re doing it after a short full-body warm-up.
You shouldn’t do peloton stretches without warming up because stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.
The purpose of the warm-up is to increase muscle and tendon suppleness, stimulate blood flow to the muscles, and increase body temperature.
Plus, you get substantially better results when your muscles are more elastic and warm.
Of course, there is time and place for pre-workout stretches, but it includes different methods and techniques.
You can stretch before bed
You can do Peloton stretch classes in the evening or before bedtime.
(However, you still need to apply some basic warmup sequences to make sure you’re not stretching cold muscles.)
I always find it good to do stretches before bedtime. Stretching stimulates parasympathetic response, reduces cortisol levels, and increases melatonin levels.
This is a great tool if you’re looking for ways to enhance sleep and reduce stress.
And yes, it is ok to stretch on the bed because many of the peloton stretches are done in the prone position.
However, some stretches do require you to stand up straight and have some degree of balance, especially in the classes that cover full-body stretching.
Use stretching to get Century Shirt
You can use peloton stretching to get a century shirt (if that’s your goal, why not).
The stretches count as a workout in the peloton, which means you do get achievement badges and milestones.
Stretching also counts toward your daily and weekly steaks, as well as it gets accounted for the total number of workouts you completed.
So as weird as this may sound, you do get a peloton century shirt after 100 stretch classes. Every class, as long as it’s done in the same category, counts towards the milestones.
Use Peloton stretching on Delta Airlines
Peloton and Delta Airlines started a new partnership where you can now enjoy some of the short meditation and chair stretches on board the aircraft.
You can get Peloton stretching classes on all of the Airbus and Boeing Delta aircraft, apart from the B-717.
The only peloton classes you will see on the Delta screens are stretch and meditation to help you move around, relax and even fall asleep.
I think using peloton stretching on the plane is an excellent idea, especially on long-haul flights.
How often should you stretch on a plane? As a whole, you should be stretching on the plane at least once every 2-3 hours to stay comfortable.
Stretching on the plane helps with muscle perfusion, reduces fluid retention, and makes you more mobile after the flight.
Peloton Stretching For Splits
Now let’s talk about the performance and increasing the range of motion. When it comes to stretching to reach a specific goal (like split) it’s more about consistency than intensity.
This means you will have better results from doing small and often (3 x day for 10 minutes), rather than once a week for a couple of hours.
The best peloton stretch class for the splits
In general, the best peloton stretch class for the splits is a 10-minute hip stretch and 10-minute glutes and leg stretch.
Those sessions consist of several hip openers, and groin and forward folds that increase the hips and hamstrings’ range of motion.
To improve your flexibility for the splits you need to work on stretching and strengthening the muscles that play a role in hip flexion and extension.
Those muscles include the hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, adductors, groin, and calves.
Here is a great tutorial on how to (realistically) do splits and which stretches you should look for.
Peloton Stretching vs Yoga
Now let’s discuss the difference between different stretching classes available in the peloton app, specifically yoga and regular stretching.
The difference between stretching and yoga is that yoga is a separate workout that follows the asana sequence and includes sun salutation.
- Each yoga class starts with the sun salutation routine combined with breathing that helps to mobilize the spine but also works as a warmup.
- On the other hand, stretching means lengthening, which relates to the ability of the muscle tissue to restore its range of motion.
- Every yoga asana works by stretching the muscles, but not every stretching is classified as yoga.
Is peloton stretching or yoga better?
As a whole, yoga is better than stretching because not only it helps to restore optimal range of motion, but also helps to increase mindfulness and body awareness.
However, yoga practice is a skill that requires training and is more complex than stretching.
Another difference between peloton stretching and yoga is that in yoga you use multiple accessories like stretching blocks, yoga straps, and bolster.
You also do the class bare feet.
On the flip side, the stretching class doesn’t require any extra equipment, and the class is done with the shoes on.
Here are some of the main differences in how I feel after the peloton stretch vs yoga.
|Peloton Stretching||Peloton Yoga|
|Takes 5 to 15 minutes|
Makes me feel energized
|Takes 45 to 75 minutes|
Makes me feel relaxed and calm
As you can see, yoga takes more time and provides a completely different effect.
Stretching after a workout energizes me for the day, whereas yoga helps me to relax, almost like after a massage.
I like peloton yoga classes because they offer some cool stretch routines like a desk, chair, or office stretch. Below you can see the link to my article where I explain in detail everything there is to know about peloton yoga.
Doing peloton stretch is multifunctional. This means it can be implemented either before, during, or after the workout.
However, if you’re short on time and you don’t have the luxury of doing 3 stretches within one training session, I always recommend to at least spend 5 minutes after your workout.
Static stretching makes you more relaxed and calm, but also weaker and inhibits the cycling economy.
Dynamic stretching helps to activate and perfuse the muscles, without lengthening the tissue. It stimulates sympathetic response, which is an essential component of the workout.