Mountain biking is one serious sporting activity you could get yourself into today. Other than a wide range of techniques and skills you must have, this activity can take a toll on your body. One common problem associated with mountain biking is muscle pain, especially when you are getting started. If you once in a while have to deal with a series of back pain, wrist pain, and muscle soreness after every trip, we know how that can be frustrating.
It is because of this we are going to teach you how to handle some of these issues. In this case, we are talking about stretching for mountain bikers. Some of the simple exercises and stretches we are going to mention here may seem simple, but the number of great things you could get from this will simply blow your mind.
Shoulders and Neck stretching
Both the shoulders and the neck regions are some of the parts that suffer the most when climbing those extremely steep slopes. And at the end of every ride, you don’t give these parts the much-needed exercise; you could end up feeling a lot of pain and soreness. There is a way you can protect that from happening. Pretty much the same way as the wrist, you can loosen then up.
For the neck and shoulder, here you need to stand and make your head roll in a circular motion. Do this a couple of times and it should be in both directions. As for the shoulders, you need to shrug and maintain that position for a couple of seconds, preferably not less than 10 seconds. For the best results, do this a couple of times.
The hamstring also suffers the most when it comes to those cyclic motions of pedaling. Most riders, after those long rides, often have to deal with short hamstrings muscles. Because of that, you might find yourself having to deal with a lot of injuries. For that, you need to do a little bit of stretching exercises on this part.
All you are required to do here is pretty much simple. You need to stand up and bend forward from your waist. Once you are in that position, allow both your arms to dangle down as you bend your knees outward a little bit. Here you do not have to touch the ground to make a great stretch. Just bend slightly and hold that position as long as you can.
When it comes to mountain bikes; your wrists play one of the most crucial roles. There are the most effective natural shock absorbers out there. Normally, before you head out, you might want to make sure these parts are in perfect condition and are ready for any challenging tasks. You need to loosen your writs.
One of the best ways you can give this part of the body some serious exercise is by sticking your arms out and placing them parallel to each other on the ground. Once you do that, now rotate the wrist in a clockwise direction. It is here that you may also want to use one hand to pull the other one up or even downwards. You will be amazed by how you would feel after this simple wrist exercise.
Achilles Tendon Stretching
It is one of the longest tendons in the body. It helps connect the heel to the calf muscle. It plays a very crucial role when you are cycling and it is also one of the most vulnerable in your leg. When it comes to biking, if your legs are not well prepared for those torturous biking moments, you could find yourself not being able to walk after those long rides simply because of the pain.
When it comes to tendons, they don’t actually stretch, but can extend or contract. However, you can give it a little bit of stretching. For you to pull off this quite well without causing an injury to the Achilles tendon, you need to stand on a slightly raised platform, preferably stairs.
Secondary, put the ball of the foot on the edge of the raised platform. Once you have done that, it is now time to slowly bend your knee as you drop your heel down the floor. During those movements, you will feel a sort of a stretch in your heel as well as the calf. Hold that stretch as long as you can and eventually switch the legs.
Calf stretching is one of the most widely practiced stretching exercises. Thankfully, it is one of the easiest to do also. First, you need to face the wall and make sure your toes point towards the wall also. Place both your palms on the wall; let’s say at the same as the height of your shoulders. Thereafter, using one leg, stick it out right behind you and put it flat on the ground. At this point, the leg must be very straight.
Now, using the other leg, take a little step forward as the other leg remains flat on the ground. On the other hand, this other leg should be slightly bent and the toes still facing the wall. You are not done, now take that leg forward, and ensure the upper body and back leg are kept in straight. It is here that you will start to feel a stretch in the big muscle of the calf. Hold that stretch for anything not less than 15 seconds. Thereafter, switch position and repeat the same, but this time with the other leg. This stretching exercise may look so complex, but once you get the steps, it is incredibly simple.
Biologically, the quadriceps are one of the largest muscles in the body. Because of that, it plays a big role when you are cycling but often suffer a few injuries. If you are a serious biker, it is very likely you have had to deal with a sort of burn in your quads. It is because of that you may want to make sure this part receives the necessary stretching when you are going about those important stretching exercises for bikers.
To help you stretch the quads, you need to stand straight and from there reach back and grab any of your foot. Secondly, lift the lower leg back to reach it and once you have gotten hold of the ankle, pull it towards your back. You might need to ensure you hold it for about 30 seconds. It is important you take your time when doing this exercise because it comes with plenty of benefits.
How To Prevent Mountain Biking Injuries
We know by now you have an idea of the best stretching exercises you could do today. Now, let’s take a quick look at ways you can use to prevent any injuries.
Warming up is key:
As with any other demanding activity you get yourself into, before taking that ride, you need to warm up. Those routine exercises help prepare your body for any physically and challenging tasks ahead. That simple warm-up exercise allows the proper flow of blood in the body, especially into the muscle areas.
Cool down after long rides:
After going for hours and hours riding your bike, you need to take some time off to cool your body down. You might need to do a number of stretches also as the body cools down. This will come with incredible benefits as it will help your muscles not to stiff. This will also prevent muscle soreness from happening.
It is for a fact, it is likely at some point in time you have had to deal with stiff joints as well as muscles. This can, in the long run, lead to joint and muscle injuries. As a way to prevent this from happening, you need to work on your overall body flexibility. Be flexible as that will reduce any chance of you getting injured.
Work on your strength:
Mountain biking is incredibly demanding, and if you are not strong enough, you could end up with a lot of muscle injuries. For this, you need to eat well, and practice regularly as that will help build the required muscles, tendons and most importantly decrease road injuries.
Keep your body well hydrated:
This cannot be overemphasized enough; always stay hydrated. Always make sure you have plenty of water when you are on the road. It is recommended you take water after at least 15 minutes and even well before you start to feel thirsty. Dehydration could come with some serious issues including, fatigue and also disorientation. These are some of the problems you wouldn’t want to encounter on the road. Interestingly, you can prevent such by just taking enough water.
Make sure you are comfortable on the bike:
How you are seated on the bike can also influence a number of things. The bike set up must be correct, incorrect size and positioning could lead to a lot of issues. It is here where you might want to make sure you are comfortable. In short, your bike must come equipped with the correct saddle. The kind of padding that has been used must also be right.