“The way that joints maintain health is through movement. Make sure you move all of your joints to their fullest capacity, frequently.” Dr Andreo Spina
When clients first come to see me, I’m still sometimes shocked to see how locked up they are, especially in the hips, upper back and shoulders. They look so fit and athletic on the surface, but underneath they’re dealing with unbearably tight joints and recurring pains that all too often they’ve come to accept as inevitable. If this is you, you don’t have to accept it. But you do need to start doing something about it before it's too late.
Luckily that’s where recovery techniques such as yoga, stretching, foam rolling, massage and manual therapy come in. I’ve designed this easy 15-minute video, to help you start loosening up tight joints and shift some of those niggling aches and pains, that let’s be honest, aren’t getting any better on their own.
How did you get tight in the first place?
If you suffer from tightness, inflexibility or chronic pain in any part of your body, your daily activities are not taking you through sufficient range of motion to keep your muscles and joints healthy and in proper alignment. Most likely, you sit too much. Add to that the sheer physicality of your sport and an inadequate or non-existent recovery strategy and you have the perfect storm for poor posture, dysfunction, and pain.
The primary joint issues we need to address are:
- Stiff thoracic spine and rotator cuff injuries which lead to neck and shoulder pain - Tight hips which cause lower back pain
What difference will mobility training make to your riding?
If you’re consistent and commit to spending at least 15 minutes a day, 3-7 days a week working on your mobility, you can expect to:
- Feel more loose on the bike - Increase your power and explosiveness - Speed up your recovery time - Increase your endurance - Reduce pain in the lower back, neck, and shoulders - Improve the effectiveness of your breathing - Decrease your risk of injury - Ride with more style - Increase your longevity in the sport
What makes yoga so effective at improving joint mobility?
Yoga works on a number of different levels, affecting both your physiology and your central nervous system.
- Slow and controlled movement through full range of motion loosens up tight joints. - Static stretching – holding poses – releases muscular tension and helps to correct postural imbalances. - Yoga follows a sequence of forward bends, backbends, sidebends, and twists to flex, extend and move your joints through all planes of motion. - Deep, diaphragmatic breathing calms the nervous system, which allows your body to let go of tension. - Practicing yoga increases body awareness without which it’s impossible to bring about meaningful structural change.
Tips to get the most out of this video
- Try to relax. This is a recovery session not a workout. You have to be relaxed for the routine to be effective. - Consciously slow down your breathing. As you inhale, fill your ribcage front, back and sides. And make your exhalations as long and slow as you can. - Try not to drift off into thoughts. Stay present, focussing on your breath and the sensations in your body, throughout the sequence. - You can do this restorative sequence any time of day but in the evening before bed is best. Repeat it as many times a week as is necessary and appropriate for you.
This video comes from my Relaxation series – 15 x 15-minute beginner videos designed to increase flexibility, loosen up tight joints and promote athletic recovery.
Get in touch
It’s been more than 18 months since I posted my first article on Pinkbike and I know at least some of you must be doing the videos because they’ve been watched over half a million times! I’d love to hear if any of you can touch your toes yet and if you can’t, how I can help you get there.