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Your Bike Is Ready But Are You?

Tight hamstrings, stiff back, tense shoulders, and mediocre core strength. Does any of this sound familiar? It is no surprise many cyclists have aching bodies. It is a sport that utilizes most of the bio-mechanics of the body. Arms are alert when holding onto the grip, legs are firing from the peddling, back is charging from holding your form up and down the trail, and your core could be stronger because everything else is working so hard. And this is why mountain biking flexibility matters.

So first step is to congratulate yourself for using your body and being active (way better than being stationary and stiff). But with an active lifestyle also comes the residual effects on the body. How often do you just put on your shorts, lube your chain, check your tires and suspension and jump on the bike? Your bike is ready but are you? But, rarely do you ever check to see if your body is ready to go.

A Little Prep Goes A Long Way

Many of us just get out and go for a ride and then jump in the shower (maybe), and head onto the next thing in life we need to accomplish in our day; often bypassing flexibility, mobility and core strength. It only takes a few minutes to satisfy your bodies need for all three. For the purpose of this blog we will talk about the value and use of a foam roller.

The body has worked so hard to conquer the trail. To skip out on the flexibility time and soft tissue recovery will only hinder your riding performance next time on the bike. So taking those few minutes prior to your ride to do range of motion exercises is beneficial.

Warming up the joints and increasing circulation throughout the body prior to riding will allow for a much more prepared cycling experience. This can be accomplished by easy pedaling for the first 5-10 min as well as starting with ROM (Range Of Motion) exercises before even getting on the bike (noted below).

The value of following your ride with a foam roller routine will help regain lost range of motion, reduce pain and restore function by lengthening muscle fibers that have been shortened. Adhesion form from repetitive muscle contraction. Rolling out the kinks and knots will not only create a sense of muscular relief but  increase your recovery time over all. There is no denying that a post ride massage after a long ride will speed recovery not to mention feel awesome. A foam roller can help satisfy the gains a massage could offer. Roll out mid and lower back, quadriceps, IT band, gluteal muscles and hamstrings and calf muscles to prevent injury and recover quicker for your next ride.

How And What To Roll For Cyclists:

Complete two repetitions of 30 seconds (for legs switch to the other leg, repeat)


Lie down and place the foam roller on your mid back. Right above the rib cage. Place your hands behind your head and keep your feet flat on the ground with a slight bend in the knees. Contract your abs and gluteus. Let the foam roller move from the mid back to the shoulder blades. cartoon exercise-back_0


Lie face down with your elbows on the ground and the foam roller underneath your thighs. This position is similar to a front plank, except you’ll keep both feet off the ground. Put your weight on your right thigh and move the foam roller up and down from the hip to the top of the knee. Then switch to left thigh.cartoon Foam-roller-Quads-a


Position your body on one side with the foam roller on the outside part of the thigh. Between your hip and knee. Raise your body so that both arms are straight and the palms of your hands are flat on the ground. Bend the top leg (the leg not touching the foam roller) so that your foot is flat on the ground in front of you. Roll the leg on the foam roller from the hip down to the knee. For greater intensity you can raise both legs simultaneously putting more IT Band pressure into the roller.cartoon exercise-iliotibial-band_0


With your hands flat on the ground behind you, sit on the foam roller and cross your legs, placing your left ankle on your right knee. Shift your weight towards the left side and roll from the top to bottom on your left gluteus. Switch sides and do the same on the right. Pausing where you are tightest.

foam roller glut cartoon image


Sit on the ground with the foam roller behind your thigh. Face up. Place both hands flat on the ground behind you for support. Bend the opposite leg and keep your foot flat on the ground. Move the foam roller from the back of the knee to the bottom of the gluteus, keeping the leg on the foam roller off the ground.foam roller cartoon image hamstrings


Sit on the ground with the foam roller beneath your calves. Place both hands flat on the ground behind you for support. Roll back and forth over the calves. From the Achilles to to the top of the calf.cartoon exercise-calves_0

Range of Motion Exercises:

Increases blood flow to the joints preparing it for action. •Shoulder rotations• Leg swings• heal kicks•ankle rotations•high knees • hold a PVC Pipe with straights arms move pipe  in front and behind head

So remember: Mountain biking flexibility matters. With these few exercises before and after your ride, you will feel and see great improvements with your overall body condition as well as your optimal riding performance and recovery.