Do you ever wake up feeling like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz? If only there was a can of oil to make it all feel right again! Luckily, we have the next best thing to get your body loose and ready to ride. Here are 10 Yoga moves for mountain bikers that can be performed anywhere. No mat, kombucha or “ommmmmm” necessary.
Let’s keep it simple and focus on moves to warm up the muscle groups we use while riding. Get comfy and sink into them, breathing steadily and deeply with about 4 seconds of inhale and a slower exhale. Take at least five breaths in each pose to reap the benefits… or longer if you’re really feeling it. This is YOUR practice, after all!
1. Crescent Pose
Start with a big side bend. Reach high with the arms, grab the left wrist with right hand, and pull the body to the right, feeling the stretch through the ribs, arms, and hip. Repeat on the other side and remember to breathe!
2. Forward Fold to Twist
Next, fold at the waist and reach for the toes with soft knees (don’t lock them out). After several breaths there, bend the right knee and reach down with the right hand while you turn the body and reach high with your left hand. This adds a tasty twist to the fold and helps get that posterior chain ready to rumble. Repeat on the other side.
3. Low Lunge
Now for some real juicy stretches… Step forward with the right leg and sink down to a lunge. I especially like this as a warm up stretch with my knee pads on. Make sure your front knee doesn’t go further forward than your toes, and keep that knee above the ankle or a little outside. Let the hips drop in deep and… breathe.
4. Runner’s Rider’s Lunge
From the lunge position, send the hips back and straighten the front leg, feeling the hamstring stretch. Find a good spot and drop your chin to feel all kinds of muscles through your back start to stretch. Once again, breathe deep, hang out a while, and don’t forget to do both sides.
5. Toes Pose to Yogi Squat
The blood should be moving now, and your body should start to feel warmer. Come down on the knees and sit back toward the heels. I like to point my toes down so it stretches my feet at the same time, but you can tuck the toes and see what you like better. Next, rock back to a deep squat to open your hips.
6. Side Lunge
Standing back up, spread the feet wide and shift to the right side for a deep groin stretch. This one often gets neglected so be gentle!
In a standing position, reach the right hand up and over to the left ear and tilt your head to the right for a neck stretch. Do the right side and then link the fingers of both hands behind your head and look down.
8. Shoulder and Tricep
For your upper body, cross the right arm to the left and use the left to pull it further to loosen the shoulder. Do both sides and add in a tricep stretch by reaching up and bending the arm down behind your head and pulling the elbow down.
9. Quad and Chest
Find something to help keep your balance, kick the left foot up and catch it with the right hand behind your butt. Pull the foot to feel the stretch through the quad and hip. Take care of both sides, then stand firm and lean in to that shoulder against something so you can open up your chest muscles.
Finally, cross one leg over the other knee and lean back into a squat. It helps to brace yourself so you don’t fall. Prepare to feel things in the hip that you didn’t know about! It’s a miracle worker for the IT band that gets so tight in cyclists.
You liked those, huh?! If you’re somewhere comfortable, add in a “child’s pose” and “upward dog”. For the best hip/ IT band stretch, prop up your hip with a pillow in a “pigeon pose” and relax into it for a few minutes. Next check online for some longer sequences or drop into your local studio for a class!
Enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I’ve ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike.
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability...
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike. I am so much faster on singletrack and through technical sections/jumps that even if people are more fit than me, I still keep up with them (and kind of love watching them do a lot more work than they need to). Richard and Kris are fantastic and break things down in a way that makes sense and is manageable. By the end of my first clinic, I was jumping off ledges and power climbing up sections that I couldn't drive a car up. You could buy a $5,000 carbon bike and do 10,000 ft rides every day, but you will get the best return on any investment you make in your riding by attending a Ninja Skills Clinic. ~ Regina J.
My 14 year old son and I (I'm 43) went to the Intermediate/advanced skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park....
My 14 year old son and I (I'm 43) went to the Intermediate/advanced skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park. We both race and ride at a very fast pace. Getting faster for us is about making sure our fundamentals are solid and we can continue to use those fundamentals to smooth out our flow to increase our skills and confidence. Richard has a way of breaking down all the information to make it very understandable and usable. My son and I have been to other skills classes before and knew what to expect, mostly. Richard was able to coach us to better form riding high speed flat corners! We brushed up on and cleaned up some less helpful habits. We really worked to understand the how and why behind some skills that we already had but didn't know we that we did. All in all we had a blast! Richard was fun and informative. Taylor was helping Richard out for the day. It was fun to watch her demo some skills at speed. Her input throughout the day was informative and light hearted. It was a fun day on the bike with some great people and coaching. This will not be our last Ninja training clinic! Thanks for everything Richard and Taylor! ~Eric Zubick
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood. Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding...
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood. Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding skills (because I had), I began searching for a mountain bike skills camp. I wanted to attend a camp that would push me to be a better rider, but I needed it to be in a great location on actual trails. After a fair amount of searching, I decided that spending a weekend at a Ninja Mountain Bike Skills camp would be perfect. It didn't hurt that the camp was in Big Bear. The condensed review: It took only a few hours of trail riding with Richard and Daniel to drastically change my riding for the better. The long review: The camp was broken into morning and afternoon sessions, separated by an amazing lunch on each day. The morning sessions were, in general, based on technique and riding isolated technical features. The afternoon sessions functioned more like a capstone; we rode incredible trails, like Fall Line and Skyline, and put our newly-learned skills into action. Richard and Daniel were attentive to both the class as a whole as well as each individual. The pacing of each individual lesson (I'm a teacher, so I viewed each piece as a lesson) was wonderful. There were constant checks for understanding as well as incremental assessments of our skills on the bike. We were never once, all weekend, bogged down in repetition, nor were we rushed through a skill or concept. I was blown away by the sheer volume of skills that were taught in such an easy-to-grasp manner. Of course, we were not standing by our bikes the whole time listening to a lecture: we were actively riding while Daniel and Richard looked on with critical eyes. Richard was clear in his introduction...
G2 Bike looks forward to many more of these clinics in this area.
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is a warm and friendly environment to learn new skills and hone ones you already know....
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is a warm and friendly environment to learn new skills and hone ones you already know. It's a non intimidating environment where mistakes are welcomed so corrections can be made. I own G2 Bike is Aliso Viejo and this clinic has been ran out of the Aliso Woods area and when I interviewed the clients they had all but great things to say. None arrogant instructors and easy to follow steps. The biggest bang for many was meeting new area riders at their skill level, gaining confidence, and getting the bike set up and fit properly. G2 Bike looks forward to many more of these clinics in this area. Thanks Richard for all you do for the MTB community! ~ AJ S.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.