5 Yoga Poses for Balance & Body Control

Apr 3, 2021
by Abi Carver  
Abi demonstrates 5 poses for balance and core control.

Can you hold your position on the bike through the line you've committed to, as the tyres squirm, the pedals jump and the handlebars try to tear themselves from your grip under the pressure of the terrain? If you feel you have room for improvement, you don’t need a Bosu ball, a wobble board or any fancy equipment to refine your balance and core control skills. You just need your bodyweight, the ability to stay focused and some simple but effective yoga poses.

Although yoga is best known for its restorative and flexibility-enhancing benefits, it is also technically challenging, which makes it the ideal training ground to work on your balance and proprioception. Because once you have the strength, stamina and cojones locked in, improving your kinaesthetic awareness and body control is what is going to give you the edge!

Moving your body with precision and control

“Motor control, at its simplest, is the ability to perform an action with precision and accuracy, along with a sensation of ease. It’s what makes efficient movement possible.” Jarlo Ilano

The 5 dynamic poses that I am going to demonstrate in this article are designed to:

- Activate the deep core stabilisers.
- Increase your agility, body control and accuracy of movement.
- Integrate muscles throughout your body to work together.
- Improve your coordination and kinaesthetic awareness.
- Strengthen the wrists, shoulders, obliques, abs, lower back and hips.
- Protect your joints.
- Quiet and sharpen your mind.
- Decrease your risk of injury.

The aim of incorporating yoga poses like this into your training each week is greater smoothness and fluidity in your riding, the ability to put your body exactly where you want it and flow into more expansive ranges of motion and hopefully, though it’s never guaranteed, to reduce your risk of injury.

5 Yoga Poses for Balance and Body Control

1. Side Plank Rotations

This dynamic Side Plank variation strengthens the obliques as well as the shoulders, lower back and hips. Keep your core tight throughout the movement.

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2. Downward Dog Spider Planks

This dynamic Plank exercise strengthens the abs, obliques and shoulders and opens up the hips. Exhale as you bring your knee forward and inhale to lift your leg back up.

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3. Warrior 3 Eagle

This Warrior 3 variation trains balance, proprioception, core strength, opens up the hips and stretches the backs of the shoulders. See how precise and controlled you can make your transitions.

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4. Crow Pose

Crow is a challenging arm balance that builds core and shoulder strength, improves balance and opens up the hips. The key is to get your knees as high up high as you can on your arms.

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5. Lower Abs Leg Circles

This pose is great for strengthening the lower abdominals as well as the lower back, deep abs and obliques. Draw your lower back down towards the mat throughout the exercise.

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Practice these poses several times a week until you feel that you can articulate every part of the movement with accuracy and precision. And if you're looking for more material like this, you can sign up for your free month on my website and start following the full Mobility Mastery series today!


58 Comments

  • 80 12
 I can hold my position on the couch and holding a beer
  • 47 67
flag pcledrew (Apr 3, 2021 at 8:05) (Below Threshold)
 @74NZ This trope of "I can do a lazy thing" in response to yoga, training tips, etc. articles is getting a little long in the tooth, no?
  • 32 3
 @pcledrew: Looks like a session?
  • 31 9
 @pcledrew: better than the trope of complaining about someone making a joke.
  • 8 1
 @pcledrew: How do I give this 7 props? Haha.
  • 4 1
 @Zophosphoros: i’m sitting on the toilet, read this and laughed. My wife asked through the door what was so funny. Read it to her, she laughed so the answer to your question is nope.
  • 2 1
 That's what I was thinking, "in conclusion, smoke meth to deth".
  • 6 1
 @daugherd: Your wife listens to you poop?
  • 27 0
 I haven’t attend yoga class since covid shut down, this is a great reminder of how beneficial yoga has been to my mountain biking and general health.
  • 3 0
 I feel ya. I just hit up YouTube. Do it at home, simple enough.
  • 3 0
 Absolutely! I started yoga last year and helped me getting way more flexibel so quickly. It translates so well to being more agile on the bike. If only I'd known earlier...
  • 8 0
 Yoga/stretching definitely helps avoid injuries and daily pain. A lot of chronic pain (like back pain) is due to shortening and tightening of muscles and ligaments.
  • 3 0
 @chuckobike: any tip for a good Youtube channel for yoga?
  • 1 0
 @Hamburgi: I really like Travis Eliot power yoga. He’s got strength, cross training and detox (all just 30 minute bits) classes on YouTube.
  • 4 0
 @tacklingdummy: I'd agree. Yoga is great for balancing out whatever else you have going on in your life and in your body.
  • 3 0
 @haentz: Amazing! Let me know if I can help.
  • 1 0
 Now's your chance to get back into it!
  • 3 0
 @yoga15app: didn’t mean to be insensitive there... I realize sharing someone else’s videos in your highlight is a touch rude. I am going to give your 15 min. classes a shot this week! Excited!!
  • 4 0
 @chuckobike: Don't be silly! He sounds great. If you can find more than one yoga teacher, that's perfect. Mixing up the styles will give you the best benefits.
  • 1 1
 @Hamburgi: doyogawithme.com you'll be pumped
  • 11 0
 Thanks Abi! Love your videos and have passed them along to friends and family.
  • 4 0
 Awesome. Thank you. I hope that they are helping.
  • 12 2
 These articles are helpful in so many ways. They also should serve as an easy button for banning the losers who get buried below threshold.
  • 3 0
 Haha. That's great. I hope that you find the moves helpful too!
  • 7 0
 Have been doing Ashtanga yoga for a little over a year. Actually I was my wife's first pupil after she completed her teacher training. I can feel the benefits, but it gets in the way of riding. Especially the weekend yoga retreats, there used to be weekends away riding. Ahem.... The things you do for a relationship
  • 2 0
 Haha. The sacrifices!
  • 9 0
 I get after at least 30 min. of yoga minimum of 3 times a week. Helps immensely!!
  • 5 0
 That's fantastic. Should make all the difference.
  • 5 0
 Those look pretty advanced, Abi. Then again, I'm getting older, too. Practicing Tai Chi Chuan, and Tai Chi push-hands, is another way to improve proprioception and balance too. It takes much practice, though. Time that could be spent riding.
  • 3 0
 They're difficult but the movements themselves are fairly simple. Let me know how you get on.
  • 4 0
 These look so easy, but in reality are hard (at least as you get close to 50). It is amazing how much you lose balance as you age and how much it improves your riding when you work on it.
  • 2 0
 It may take a little time to master these poses but I agree that it's worth the effort.
  • 5 0
 Great content and advice @yoga15app , thanks!

I would love to see more longer video routines so I can just press play once and do a whole routine.
  • 5 0
 Thank you! Check out my site for 15, 30-minute and 1-hour videos. You can try it free for a month and see how you find it. Here is a good place to start: yoga15.com/courses/yoga-for-mountain-bikers-loosen-up-and-stay-pain-free
  • 5 0
 Thanks Abi, you're always helping us out.
  • 3 0
 My pleasure. Let me know if you have any questions.
  • 3 0
 Damn. Is it bad to say that I can’t do 90% of these poses?Except maybe the warrior pose thing with the twist arms.
  • 4 0
 That's why you need to start practicing!
  • 3 0
 These are tough poses but great goals. Spider planks are super versatile and wicked core builders. Knee to opposite elbow, knee outside elbow... and then you can bring in movement to transform the pose into an HIT component.
  • 4 2
 Nicely done, but it would be even better to hear how specifically each pose relates to an aspect of riding.
  • 4 1
 The ultimate goal of my yoga and stretching is to fit in a small carry-on.
  • 3 0
 As an old busted up guy, I really appreciate the yoga/mobility articles.
  • 4 2
 Thanks for the reminder to stretch more.
  • 2 0
 No problem! It will definitely make you feel better.
  • 1 1
 Number 4. The crow pose....

Looks like a fun way...

To prepare for an OTB?!
  • 5 0
 Not gonna lie, incline bench and pike pushups in a similar position have saved me from some otherwise killer OTBs.
  • 2 3
 These will be some some great poses to hold in Alabama.
  • 1 3
 @pcledrew. What, no sense of ha ha?
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