We’ve been training and riding since the beginning of the year, and since 99% of us have “real lives” and can’t afford to eat, sleep and live mountain biking like the pros do, I suggest that most of us are feeling the effects of a long season. When athletes move toward the end of their season, the excitement level is down compared to the beginning of the season. The body is worn down due to the repetitive nature of our sport.
Add these four moves to your exercise quiver for the fall season and they'll help your body fight through some of the tightness and weakness you might be experiencing. They can even be used as a warm up for your rides.HIPS AND LOW BACK
If you get back pain during or after a ride, then there’s a high likelihood that your hips and thorax (rib cage) are tight. Both these areas are designed to be “mobile” segments of the body. Other mobile areas are the ankles, upper neck, rotator cuff, and wrists. When mobile segments become tight, the brain will use ‘stable’ segments of the body to make up for the loss of movement in those mobile segments.
In the case of the lower back, the hips and thorax get tight and so the lower back incurs the stress of taking up that missing movement that is supposed to be coming from normal moving hips and thorax. 1. PSOAS/LAT MYOFASCIAL STRETCH
• Get into a lunge position with your front leg out in front of you with about a 110-degree knee angle.
• Tuck your pelvis under you as best you can. That means to tuck your tailbone under you so your lower back goes flat. HOLD THIS the entire time along with pushing the outside part of your ankle to the floor.
• Reach upward with the down-leg arm and push the middle of your ribcage away from you, while simultaneously pulling with your opposite arm.
• Hold for 30 seconds while working ALL parameters the entire time.
• Do 1-2 sets each side. Do more on the tighter side. 2. HIP REINFORCEMENT EXERCISE - CUP REACHES
• Arrange 4-6 objects in front of you. I like to use cups or cones.
• Step back and onto one leg so that you really have to reach for each cup.
• Reach forward and down by doing a single leg squat and reach for each cup.
• Return to standing in between each cup.
• Do both right and left, then switch feet and reach right and left again. Alternate each side you start on.
• Perform 2-3 sets / 2-4 passes through each of the cups and with each leg.SHOULDERS
The same idea applies to mobility, except this time the area designed to be mobile is the rotator cuff. The shoulder and arm complex is only attached to the rest of your body by one bone, the clavicle. The rest is muscle and muscle is finicky, especially when it’s been compromised with injury or repetitive stress like forward head carriage due to “texting neck” and rounded shoulders. Muscle imbalance can crush performance on and off the bike and make us feel tight, weak and sore. 1. MYOFASCIAL PEC/CHEST STRETCH
• Lay on your stomach with your arm anywhere from 20-80 degrees (you should feel at which angle you feel the most stretch).
• Place your opposite hand in a push-up position with your head looking to the same side as that hand.
• Push away from your body with the outreached arm and push that same side armpit into the floor, as well as use the “push up” arm to push your same-side body off the floor.
• Keep pushing each of these for up to 30 secs each arm while breathing. BTW! Your outstretched arm may tingle, it's normal.
• 1-2 sets each side- do tighter side more 2. SHOULDER REINFORCEMENT EXERCISE - Y, T, L’s
• Stand on one leg and switch feet halfway, bend forward at the hips with a neutral spine. Start with arms hanging down in relaxed position then:
• Perform a “Y” move - keep elbows straight
• Perform a “T” move - keep elbows straight
• Perform an “L” move - pull elbows into a 90-degree angle till upper arms parallel, then rotate forearms up
• Be sure to maintain good, stable posture the entire time. Be sure to alternate your starting foot each set and each workout.
• 2-3 sets/ 6-15 reps each letter.
• Progression: add hand weights.
I'm Coach Dee, the trainer for the Yeti Enduro team. I'm a 49-year-old enduro racer who just won my second overall season championship as a Masters racer in the Big Mountain Enduro series. For your off-season training needs, Pinkbike readers can download my brand new MTB Strong program here
and automatically get $25 OFF.