Mountain biking is different from regular biking. It is mainly for off-road cycling where the trail will naturally have small or huge bumps, and turns. Biker riding on a smooth, even track and bumpy, uneven tracks are unlike in nature.
And so most of the time, mountain bike riders feel sore after a long bike ride. For beginners, a short bike ride proves to be exhausting. It mostly happens because you are not used to mountain bike riding or have stiff muscles.
Stretching is one crucial remedy for mountain bike riders to have a fit body. It helps to develop a right level of endurance where one can survive bumpy rides with ease, without having a sore body. It loosens up the muscles and makes the body more flexible, gradually resulting in good body shape for mountain bike rides.
Where to focus
Mountain biking is a full-body activity. Starting from the neck to the legs, it uses all the muscle groups from all over the body. Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calf muscle, Achilles tendon, core muscles of the upper and lower abdominals, lower back, biceps, triceps and all other tissues in different parts of the neck, body, arm, and legs are used while riding over the irregular terrains and varying altitudes. So, stretching focuses on keeping the muscles and joints active and flexible so that it can absorb the shocks efficiently.
Why stretching a must
Before discussing some stretching exercises, first, let us explain why stretching is so essential for MTB riders. As we all know how effective mountain bike riding as a physical exercise is. It works on the whole body.
A single ride on an off-road can fully exhaust the muscles and joints as constant pedaling on a bumpy road requires immense strength as the bike ride becomes intense and vigorous.
All in all, unless one has a fit body and healthy tolerance level, mountain biking will only remain a fantasy to them, which they think they might try once in a lifetime. The vigorous adventure sport also tests the will power and determination of the rider.
So, to become a competent mountain biker or at least to ride the MTB bike for the second time, one must prepare their body accordingly. To do that, one has to do regular stretching exercises regularly.
If you are into cardiovascular activities, then you will be fine without warm-ups. However, if you are not into working out, then remember to do a little warm-up session before stretching.
Some common stretching exercises
For shoulder and neck muscles, roll the head in a circle. Roll it in both sides and repeat the process for a few times. It will help to loosen up the muscles on the shoulder and neck area resulting in sharp focus and attention.
For the wrists, rotate the wrists clockwise and anticlockwise.
For biceps, stand straight with your hands clasped behind the back and slowly lift them as much as possible.
For triceps, bend any of the arms at the elbow and place the palm on the neck. Grab the elbow with the other hand and pull it backward.
For upper abdominals, stand straight, keeping your legs apart. Raise both your hands above your head towards the ceiling and clasp them. Now slowly stand on your toes, with a slight arch on the back. Hold the position for 10 seconds and release then repeat.
For lower abdominals and lower back, lie on the stomach, placing the palms on the floor. Keep the legs straight and elbows tucked in the sides. Start lifting your upper body off the mat. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
For the quadriceps, stand up straight and grab one foot by the ankle. Pull it towards the body and hold it for at least 20 seconds. Leave it and repeat the process grabbing the other foot.
For the glutes, sit down and lift one of your legs. Place the ankle right above the knee of the other foot. Bring your chest closer to the knee. Press the hands on the floor until you feel enough stretch and repeat on the other leg.
For the hamstrings, stand straight and slowly start bending forward at the waist. Try to bend over as much as you can. Keep your hands dangling while bending the knees outward. Continue it for 15 seconds and return to the standing position.
For calf muscle, place the palms on a wall and take one of the feet a step behind. Keep that foot straight while taking a step forward with the other leg. Bent it a little. Slowly lean forward, keeping your back foot and upper body straight. Stretch the calf muscle to only that extent where you can keep your upper body straight. Hold it for 20 seconds and repeat the same on the opposite side.
For Achilles tendon, stand on a stair and hold on the railings. Put the ball of your foot on the edge of the bottom step. Bend your knee a bit and drop the heel down to the floor.
Going out for MTB riding makes us prepared with a fit body. It will help you to keep all the excitement and enthusiasm intact. It is usual to lose interest due to the difficulty level of mountain bike riding, but if your body is ready and strong enough to fight the difficulty, then there is nothing that can stop you.
So, start doing the stretching exercise regularly a week before the MTB riding and never stop doing it. Continue the stretching, and you will feel the difference and realize the importance of stretching.