If you haven’t heard yet, I’ve been absolutely OBSESSED with using the Peloton Bike over the last three months. I even recently surpassed 50 rides! But with how much I love biking now, I’ve noticed that pushing myself hard has resulted in a couple injuries. I’ve suffered a pulled groin three times since starting the Peloton, so I figured perhaps other riders are probably already experiencing or will go through the same thing.
But I’m also the type of person who bounces back fairly quickly from an injury. Mentally, that might be a good thing. But physically, I’ve noticed I need to take more precautions so my body doesn’t end up worse off just because I can power-through the pain. If you’re an avid biker, here’s some tips to avoid a pulled groin or recover from one quickly.
First off, know that I’m not an expert or a doctor. You should consult with a professional if you are severely injured. My advice comes from my personal experience of pulling a groin and recovering several times. What works for me may not work the same for you. So, listen to your body and do what feels right for you. However, if you’re like me and try to avoid the doctor, try out these tips first.
Tips for Avoiding Injury
The best way to avoid a pulled groin on the bike is to perform warm up and cool-down rides. Yes, I know… This seems super obvious, right? But I’ll be the first one to admit, I don’t always like to do this or I forget. But since I’m going on three times experiencing a pulled groin in three months of bike riding, I figured now is the time to actually start preventing these injuries.
For Peloton Riders
For those who do the Peloton like myself, the app actually comes with both Warm Up and Cool Down Rides that typically last between 5-10 minutes. I normally find myself just doing the Cool Down classes since every Peloton ride comes with a built in warm up, though some of them tend to feel like the real-deal even when you’re first starting. But again, because I keep finding myself injured, I’m actually going to start using those Warm Up Rides beforehand.
For everyone Else
If you aren’t using a Peloton, don’t worry. A basic Warm Up or Cool Down ride is as simple as starting slow and working your way up to more resistance and speed, or starting fast (for cool downs) and working your way down. Each session should typically range between 5-15 minutes. And yes, if you’re like me it is grueling to go that slow and feel like you’re not working hard, but I promise it will be worth it.
Stretches to add to your routine
Check out this list of warm-up stretches, especially the ones for hips and legs, that should be done before a ride to avoid a pulled groin. And here are some good cool-down stretches to perform after a ride that I’ve been incorporating on the daily basis. I especially love the one pictured above.
Strengthening your groin can also help avoid injury. Try these 17 hip-opening yoga poses that stretch and strengthen the hips and inner thighs.
What to Do If You Get Injured
After being injured several times and becoming a pro at recovery, I’ve noticed 5 things really help me quickly recover from a pulled groin. Keep in mind that everybody is different, but I believe in the rule of listening to your body. You want to push yourself a little and not just lie in bed for a week straight. But you also don’t want to worsen your condition by continuing to do normal workouts as if nothing is wrong.
take a couple days off from biking
During this time, I usually go hard on arms/upper body using free weights. Or I’ll focus more on core exercises. Go easy on any squatting or lunges since this can irritate a pulled groin, though I will still do them slowly with no weights after a full day of rest. I only return to biking when I can barely feel the injury anymore. This first ride back is ALWAYS extremely slow and 20 minutes tops.
use an ice pack on a Pulled groin
It’s usually recommended to ice a pulled groin a couple times throughout the day. But I have found doing it during bed-time is helpful and fits better into my schedule for a couple days. This will immediately help relieve some of the pain by reducing inflammation.
over-the-counter medicine is helpful too
First off, if your pain is super bad (only you will be able to judge what that feels like), you should just go see a doctor. But if you’re at least able to walk and it’s just a little uncomfortable, usually taking a pain reliever once or twice a day will help. And combined with ice, most of your pain will subside.
continue to stretch after a day of complete rest
During the first day of a pulled groin, it’s typically best not to aggravate it by stretching. In fact, I’ve noticed this has made it much worst for me. Now, I’ll usually wait at least one full day before I start incorporating those biking stretches I linked to above. Always be sure to start lightly though and don’t deepen your stretch if it hurts.
Walk it off, No literally
Walking slowly tends to help after a full day of rest as well. I sort of discovered this on total accident after my second pulled groin. I was preparing to walk to a coffee shop in the city to do some work and for some reason decided I would wear shoes with a small heel on them (not a good idea).
By the time I made it down the street, my body was screaming “NO!” So here I am practically limping with a pulled groin through the city of Chicago and when I get to the coffee shop I had planned to use, it’s completely full! It also happened to be freezing that day, and I wanted to turn back and go home but I had too much pride to return the way I had come. So I just kept walking all the way across the River and at first, the further I got, the more I didn’t think I would make it back without needing an Uber. But I just kept going, and about a mile in, I swear my pain just disappeared. I didn’t know if it was the numbness from being cold or what, but suddenly I was walking with no issue whatsoever. Later, I returned home after the coffee shop and noticed all my groin pain was totally gone!
So here’s the thing… Don’t make yourself suffer like I did. Start yourself off slowly, and work your way up to walking about a mile or two. Perhaps, try it out first on a treadmill. And don’t wear heels while you’re doing it.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to rest after experiencing a pulled groin. This can vary from person to person, ranging from one day to a couple days. You should almost never have to go an entire week of rest unless you’ve seen a doctor and they’ve told you your injury is just that severe. While resting, use an ice pack on your groin and over-the-counter pain killers to reduce inflammation and pain.
As pain subsides after a day or two, start to implement light stretching and mild workouts or walking. But continue to listen to your body, and if something is too painful, always stop. And after a few days, once your pulled groin almost feels completely healed or is just a little uncomfortable, begin to implement a light and easy bike workout.
Only return to your normal workout routine once pain is completely gone. Just remember to find that sweet spot of rest and pushing yourself back into recovery mode by listening to your body. Hope this helps! And cheers to a speedy recovery.