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!
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have...
I attended an intermediate skill clinic last year and had an awesome time. My riding improved instantly and I have really enjoyed the increased confidence jumping my bike over obstacles. My muscle memory takes a while to kick in and Coach Richard and his crew of master Ninjas were really patient with me. I even got some bonus education on climbing faster during one of our warm-up laps! Even though I have been riding for years I learned something new with every skill taught. The clinic was worth every penny and I will be signing up for an advanced one this summer. ~Michael W.
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work...
Went to the beginner Ninja clinic at Alison. Richard and Kristen were awesome! We all got the opportunity to work on improving our skills with their feedback. Next time I would definitely do the intermediate clinic or do a one-on-one session. Richard is super patient and provides great feedback and riding tips. ~ Lisa D.
My speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved!
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going...
I just had my first race (XC endurance) since I did the camp and both my speed and confidence going down steep descents have been SIGNIFICANTLY improved. I would not have attempted 50% of the drops and jumps on the course prior to participating in the clinic, and my overall time would have been much slower. The first two hours of the class (int/adv Sedona) made the whole thing more than worth it, and the rest of the two days seemed like a bonus. Both Courtney and Richard were encouraging and patient, and both had that classic mountain biker charm and humor ready when the moment called for it. Overall a very enjoyable and valuable weekend. For reference, I participate in amateur XC endurance races (with no hope of ever coming close to winning anything) and have been riding for about two years. I was worried before taking the class that I would not be skilled enough, but the int/adv was appropriate for my skill level. If you're worried, just go for it anyway. There is a good mix of people and everyone was very friendly! ~Alana Bencivengo
The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it.
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It...
I took the intermediate/advanced course in Balboa Park after having ridden for just over 2 years on my own. It covered a wide breadth of skills, some of which I already felt aquatinted with and others I had little to no experience with. I found all of the material useful. I was able to improve skills I already had and was able to learn new skills. I also feel confident leaving the course that the instructors have provided all of the information for me to practice and improve outside of the course setting. The environment of Balboa Park was perfect for learning and sessioning the skills covered. The instructors were friendly, fun, and attentive to all of the participants. They spent more or less time on certain skills based on how the entire group was grasping them. They also gave individualized attention to participants that required more help with technique. The course was very fluid, engaging, and I would highly recommend it. ~Heather B.
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