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!
He’s a wild man with a wild plan, living the nomad life as a skills instructor and trail builder. With a background in moto and 15 years of mtb experience, he has tips for riders of all levels! You can find him leading Ninja clinics all over the country and on Instagram @vitabrevis
I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo!
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop...
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop falling down during each mtb ride. The class was small and super fun...and the instructors (Richard and Kris) were informative and dynamic. The clinic was small enough for each member to practice each learned skill and receive immediate feedback. I learned many new skills on that day and felt much more confident with my bike-body connection. I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo...the 55 mile route! Woohooo!! The next day, as I was road biking (training for the Solvang Double Century), I dodged a bullet on the Snake/Mulholland by applying my learned mtb skills--a long towing truck went over almost half of our lane on a blind turn as we were descending. Instead of fixating on the truck, I remembered the importance of looking for a clear path and keeping my eyes on where I want to go....Now I understand what people meant when they said that mtb will help improve my road riding skills too! I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn, and I look forward to the next clinic! ~ Uyen N.
I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails.
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I...
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails. There is one drop and one off camber downhill section I never have had the courage or skill to ride until today. It was so fun to ride them and not get off and walk. Richard La China and Courtney Cowan were fantastic instructors. Not only did I up my technical skills in Sedona it was also a ton of fun! ~Patty Elliott
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though...
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though I always knew I didn't really understand the mechanics of it, so it was a kind of "huck and hope" affair. The result was that I didn't land about 1 in 5 attempts. The clinic with Aaron was great! He explained the mechanics of how the bike is handled coming into, through and out of the jump and starts with individual small skills progressing step by step in a very manageable way (even for me, and I started this stuff at 45 and I'm not very coordinated). What I feel sets Aaron apart is his ability to communicate his explanations and demonstrate movements in a way that makes them easy to learn even for someone with little experience. He is also very patient and encouraging, which helps when one is starting out and struggling a little with some movements. I definitely intend to do more clinics with Ninja MBS. I feel like it will save me a lot of time and frustration as well as possibly a lot of money in medical bills! ~Jill M.
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
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.