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!
Highly recommended! Essential riding skills are thoroughly broken down making them easy to understand and learn. Coach Richard and Kris...
Highly recommended! Essential riding skills are thoroughly broken down making them easy to understand and learn. Coach Richard and Kris are some of the most professional and pleasant coaches/cyclist/people I have come across. Looking forward to one of their future clinics. ~ Tom T.
This was awesome. Having someone dissect your riding into a few skills that you can focus on is a great...
This was awesome. Having someone dissect your riding into a few skills that you can focus on is a great starting point in order to make you faster. I’m sure everyone including myself experienced a positive feeling in how to improve from this point on. — Don’t expect to be a world champ after this clinic but to learn what and where and most importantly how to improve your trail riding from now on. Richard gives you the tools but you have to put in the work.” ~ Michael A.
I’ve immediately seen an improvement in my riding …
I took the skills camp at Mt Laguna last weekend – it was GREAT. Ok, so I was a bit...
I took the skills camp at Mt Laguna last weekend – it was GREAT. Ok, so I was a bit of a nervous wreck when I realized I was the least skilled in the group – but the instructors didn’t give up on me and gave me plenty of tips, positive reinforcement and new ways to think about my riding. At the end of the weekend, I felt that I had a better understanding how to ride better. I’ve immediately seen an improvement in my riding, am a lot less timid and am looking forward to taking another camp soon! ~Quan Campbell
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors!
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors! The training was in Soquel Demonstration Forest & being able take...
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors! The training was in Soquel Demonstration Forest & being able take our time to session sections of Braille & Flow while having experts help fix any dysfunctions in our riding technique was priceless. I know I've always had to brake-check a lot before hitting the corners, but now I actually feel more planted while carrying more speed around the berms just w/ a slight change in hip position. I can't wait to actually hit Flow again at speed just to see how my time has improved. As for Braille, I know I need to session some of the jumps & drops a few more times before I hit them at speed (instead of bypassing around most of them as I have in the past) but now I should have the tools to know what I need to practice. Technical instruction aside, they also talked about efficient uphill pedaling, gearing choices as well as techniques to build up more mitochondria in your body... all stuff I'm interested in since I know I need to build up my climbing legs. ~Carlo F.
My wife started mountain biking recently and while she enjoyed it, she was lacking some confidence and needed some skills....
My wife started mountain biking recently and while she enjoyed it, she was lacking some confidence and needed some skills. I knew Richard La China from the cross country racing scene and felt confident that he and the ninja team could help out. I bought a woman's beginner clinic for my wife and she really enjoyed the challenge and experience. She is a better mountain biker now with much more confidence and new and improved skills. Mission accomplished! I highly recommend Richard LaChina and the ninja skills clinics for any level. I bought my wife a clinic gift card for Christmas which she will use to take the intermediate clinic. I plan on taking an advanced course to improve my cornering skills. ~ Mark T.
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.