Edmonton’s river valley and surrounding areas are perfect for mountain biking. These six tips help your body’s muscles function just as well as your bike does, and ensure you perform your best while on the trails.
TIP 1: GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR
If you want to attack hills, make sure your hamstrings and glutes have the strength to get you to the top. Bar squats, walking lunges, and single leg squats are excellent exercises that strengthen key muscles that power you up the hills.
TIP 2: SAVE YOUR KNEES PLEASE
Nothing can ruin a day of mountain biking quicker than knee pain. Oftentimes this is due to shortening of the muscles on the front of your thighs (quadriceps and hip flexors), which puts too much stress on your kneecap. Combat this by using a foam roller to roll out your quads and adding stretches for these muscles.
TIP 3: KEEP YOUR BACK ON TRACK
During aggressive downhill / aero riding positions your back is often forward flexed for prolonged periods. This places your spine under a lot of stress (intervertebral discs, back muscles etc.). Help keep your back happy and avoid injury by taking periodic breaks by moving into an upright riding position, or stepping off your bike and walking around while you refuel.
TIP 4: CALVES FOR THE PATHS
Mountain biking, especially uphill, demands a lot from your calf muscles. Keep your calves strong by incorporating straight and bent knee calf raises into your workout routine. Don’t forget to stretch out your calves too.
TIP 5: CROSS TRAIN FOR YOUR CHAIN
To maximize your performance when mountain biking, you rely on having the best equipment and your body to be in optimal condition. Studies have shown there is a cross training effect that occurs between running and biking. So, if you don’t feel like clipping into your pedals for a ride, consider going for a jog or run. You’ll work a lot of the same muscles used for biking without having to worry about cleaning the chain marks off your right calf.
TIP 6: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. IF YOU BREAK IT, WE CAN HELP FIX IT.
If something is wrong with your bike, it will let you know. Your body is no different. If you begin to experience pain during your ride, or in the hour(s) following your ride, it is usually indicative of possible injury. In this case don’t hesitate to see a physiotherapist to assess your injury.
By Miles Morgan – Physiotherapist at Propel Sports Physical Therapy