Your Post-Biking Body

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If the winter weather has you dreaming of warmer activities, you may enjoy the continuation of our mountain biking adventures!

In my previous post, I outlined the geekery that occurs in your body in order to be stable on top of a mountain bike. Today, I am happy to introduce some of my favorite Yoga Tune Up® practices to assist so many aspects of your riding experience.

Let’s start with Frog Crawls! Performing this movement builds a bridge between the right and left hemispheres of your brain, which is essential for physical adroitness and hand eye coordination, a necessary component for the trails.  We are contralateral beings in our neurological organization, and feeling a bit off kilter is not conducive to riding which requires acute focus.  I find Frog Crawls to be an essential mountain biking exercise for my body/mind/spirit constitution for riding.

On a musculoskeletal level you are keeping the spine in Tadasana, stabilizing with the core postural muscles mentioned earlier, while propelling yourself forward with the deep hip flexors. This crawling pattern simultaneously stabilizes the pelvis while mobilizing the shoulders, and spine, and simulates the movement needed to maneuver your bike while staying upright, perfect training for your outdoor experience.

Be a supple amphibian with Frog Crawls.

Be a supple amphibian with YTU Frog Crawls.

Another strengthening posture is Warrior 3 Squats. These focus on glutei, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, core and low back. The thrusting motion is so similar to the power phase on your bike. The arms are alongside your ears which automatically requires you to turn on the abdominals to stabilize your back in this long lever. (If you are one who needs special precautions with, or lack strength in your back, I recommend keeping your arms at your side).  I like that one leg is used at a time, forcing it to support the load independently. Enlightening you and helping to correct any muscle imbalances as one side may be quite different than the other.

Now to open some areas that may have become hypertonic! The buttocks, and psoas to name just a couple.

Give your hips life with Asymmetrical Uttanasana!

Give your hips life with Asymmetrical Uttanasana!

Asymmetrical Uttansana is an awesome opener addressing the hindmost of your rear, and as a bonus if your walking stance is feet turned out this could help to realign your legs and ease the lowest part of your back. You will start in a forward bend or Uttanasana with knees bent one foot is on a yoga block (feel free to use a block turned higher for your hands—you may need it!) lean body weight forward to straighten both knees, walk your hands diagonally, and lean toward the hip (block side), then hands go to the other side. This can be a delicious stretch especially if your upper body gives into gravity, while engaging the front of your thighs encouraging hamstrings to open.

Apanasana on a block with one foot at the wall will offer great benefits, disentangling tightness which may have gathered in your psoas and all hip flexors. Lie supine, place your block on its lowest level, and your sacrum upon it, extend your leg, keep a parallel position, and your foot on the wall. Hold onto your other knee and pull it deeply into chest, keeping that side of your waist long, maintaining alignment of sitting bones. To get even added benefit try a PNF by pushing your foot isometrically up the wall.

And maybe there are those rides when you just want to come home and lay on your booty on your YTU Therapy Balls and strip across your glutei.

Yoga and Yoga Tune Up ® can be like health assurance because the  work we do on the mat to focus on breath and cultivate a mind body awareness can be transported to the bike to maintain a strong AND supple body, a calm confident mind, improved coordination, capacity, and laser-like clarity.

Put your butt back on your butt after your ride.

Put your butt back on your butt after your ride.

Liked this article? Read Learning Through Novelty 
Shari Williams

Shari is a Yogi and a Scientist. It's her passion for the practice of yoga which fuels her desire to teach. She has direct experience of healing and the significant transformation yoga offers & specifically the increase in strength and joint mobility Yoga Tune Up(R) provides. You will be presented with instruction firmly rooted through her education in kinesiology. The study of human movement. as well as her vast athletic, energetic and Yogic understanding. She has 30 years of teachng and practice experience, Shari knows yoga! She has a developed "eye" to see nd enlighten you to your body's blind spots. Being a lover of the human form and compassionate about the nuance of human condition you will find her warm and accessible. she is hands on (yet respectful if this is not your choice) assisting you develop healthful alignment, the foundation to build your postures. She loves life and enjoys being in nature, hiking in the woods, or biking through the forest. Yoga practice with Shari will enhance your life, give you more time in the day through enhanced energy, self esteem and well-being. She is available for private sessions, workshops, and teaches weekly classes at the Golden Mandala Collective in Nevada City, California.

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Ashley Vasas

Asymmetrical Uttanasana doesn’t look that different from the outside but experiencing it was mindblowing. It provides a much deeper stretch and hip opening in the leg on the block. It’s a game-changer for anyone that struggles with uneven or tight hips.

Stephanie Aldrich

I love the suggestions, specifically for how the frog crawling can “stabilize the pelvis while mobilizing the shoulders, and spine, and simulate the movement needed to maneuver your bike while staying upright.” Mountain biking is a demanding activity, and having resources like those suggested in this post, to prepare for those demands is both enlightening and helpful.

suzanne

This would be a great post-cycling class tune up! All of these exercises are great for runners too; althougg we do more contralteral movement in running – Frog crawls are great for us too. In general, I love that Yoga Tune Up exercises constantly remind us of the need for variety in our movement – that we need to strech strenghten and train in many different ways – good for our bodies, good for our brains!

Melanie

The elements of this article will convince the most recalcitrant post training. Asymmetrical Uttanasana is intense but can be dosed according to the availability of hamstrings muscles.

Katherine

These are great exercises for all my cyclist friends and clients! A really fun sequence with a lot of body/mind benefits. I can just imagine how juicy the glute-stripping feels after a long ride.

Laurence CF

Thanks a lot Shari for this post, it will help me to try and convince my boys, MTB and DH riders, to roll with YTU balls. Can’t wait to do Frog Crawls with the family…
Btw, arms also take a lot, particularly in DownHill, they take a lot!
I’m curious to know, as your posts date 2 years back, would you change anything now to your recommendations?
Thanks again

Gilles

Thanks for the recall of the impact of frog crawls on the brain.

Markella

These are great tips, thank you! I have a client who is an avid biker and who will benefit greatly for these suggestions.

Véronique Lamothe

Good to know that these exercises are directly in line with the bike. I would not have thought.

Juliet

Alternatives are important when the students in a class have different levels of ability and body history. So keep the arms at the side as an alternative for people with less strength in the back. Wonderful alternative!

Leorna

While more bike lanes open in street and increase of studio riders, the population of cyclists are growing more than ever in my neighborhood. Great sequences and inspiration to teach the community. Thank you!

Clare Kelley

It’s amazing what these postures do for the balance and movement strategies riding my bike! I had a fall on my bike a few weeks ago. I was mid-air, about to land on my head and hand, and realized, “this is a bad movement strategy!” I was able to course correct and “choose” a much less devastating landing by the ability to shift my center of gravity as I rotated my spine. Serious boob-road-rash and a few cracked ribs, but no concussion or broken wrist!

Lezanne Swart

Amazing post, thanks Shari. My husband spends about a 90 minutes on his bike a day as he commutes to work and back. I think this sequence can be of great benefit to him to correct some of the imbalance he experiences due to doing a lot of cycling through the concrete jungle.

dich

Apanasana on a block with one foot at the wall will offer great benefits, disentangling tightness which may have gathered in your psoas and all hip flexors.

Duygu (Dee) Ozkan

Thank you Shari for the article and Yoga Tune Up hip sequence. We all have imbalances in between the hips and compensation happens. Checking the status of the pelvis and the muscles around it before and after cycling, running or any type of exercise can be really helpful to feel overused-tight muscles. With the sequence you shared and some other ytu poses we can easily bring the pelvis back into normal position to find balance again. Thank you for demonstrating the poses and the tips:)

Tracy Wagner

Nice post, thank you for the bonus tip when doing asymmetrical uttansana, I have one foot that turns out.

R. Reid

Great writing! I second the comment on also mentioning your body/mind connection, focus and confidence! A strong, well aligned body has that affect! Put your butt back on your butt lol

Steven Custodio

Nice article, just by reading it I could feel the effect on the body maybe because I really enjoy apanasana on a block and rolling my glutes with an alpha ball 🙂

Sierra

I love the YTU ideas to help balance a physical hobby. I will be trying all of these suggestions out and see if it improves my cycling. Will be starting with frog crawls!

Wendy Hensley

I just learned the frog crawl in YTU level 1 training. I’ve been using Asymmetrical Uttanasa in my classes and the feedback is so positive.

Katiana Paré

Great formatting of these poses, a nice balance to help mobility and stability! I can see myself using this template with my dance students.

Kelly

I love this sequence. I was trying to think of a way to get my reluctant hubby to try yoga tune up – he is an avid biker so this sequence might do the trick! I know one he feels the benefits he’ll be hooked. Thanks 🙂

Stéphanie Marchand

Really excited to talk about hips tomorrow at my YTU 1!! It’s crazy how many connections there are between our hips and the of rest our body. Really good post, great picture!! Thanks for sharing!

Trevor Gribble

Thanks for this Shari,

Jill has been getting on me all week for my tendency to look forward in my postures such as revolved triangle when I’m attempting to anterior tilt my pelvis. I mentioned I had some old cycling habits and since then she’s labeled me as a cyclist (even though I haven’t ridden in 5 years and have been practicing tons of yoga that entire time to even myself back out). But anyways, apparently I haven’t smoothed out all the wrinkles. Look forwards to implementing some of this stuff

Laura

What a great sequence! I know so many people who could benefit from these poses and I’m excited to share them!

Norah

I am also a cyclist and very much appreciate your knowledge of how yoga can help improve my cycling. I hadn’t thought to do warrior 3 squats to build strength (I don’t have enough time to ride!) or just simply lay on my balls after a ride. thanks for this thoughtful post. Would love to see more on cycling.

Jenny Lim

I can’t wait to try the frog crawl, warrior 3 squats and asymmetrical uttanasana. One of my legs is a tiny bit shorter than the other so the asymmetrical uttanasana will be an interesting experiment for me as I already compensate in a similar way to how the pose is set up.

Kamilla Vaksman

Wonderful post! I believe I can use these exercises for fencing as well, especially the frog crawls.

Lini Antony

Very good illustration with pictures. I have got a clear image on benefits and steps of frog crawls and Apanasana.

Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Tan

I love frog crawl! I have been focusing on the benefits of it on the musculoskeletal level, thanks for pointing out the neurological organization benefits! Michelle