Why Do You Need to Stretch and Warm Up?

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If you’re training for motocross or off-road races or just want to improve you’re riding experience you should be performing some form of aerobic activity (such as mountain bike, running, etc) to help increase your cardio performance. Having a solid weight training program will help build strength and maintain your muscular endurance during your race or ride. Those are two pretty simple training tips to remember right? The hardest part we all face is the commitment to a training program. I’m going to throw one more item into the mix and that’s stretching and warming up.

Failure to warm up and stretch can and will have a negative impact on your ride or race. The key is preparing your body and mind to go into battle out on the track or trail and help reduce injury and soreness.

Benefits to being more flexible

• Most importantly, tons of studies have shown or suggested that increasing your flexibility will help reduce serious injury.

• Rising your flexibility will help reduce muscle soreness and tension before and after your ride.

• Greater range of motion for your muscles and joints can improve your riding position while on the bike.

• Everybody can improve their flexibility if they try.

Warming up could be one of the most important things to do for yourself before ever putting your riding gear on. Stretching and warming up your muscles works together and you will not benefit by skipping one or the other. The sole purpose of warming up is to raise your core body temperature and start blood flow to all muscle groups. This can be achieved by doing some very light aerobic activities. So while you’re out at your riding area and got everything unloaded and ready, go for a fast pace walk around the area, jumping jacks, jump rope, maybe a light run, everything that can lightly increase your heart rate. Remember that you just want to warm up the body; don’t wear yourself out before you ever get on your bike. Once you are warmed up start performing your stretching exercises.

Guideline to stretching

• All stretching should be done gently and slowly.

• Stretch your chest area, arms, back, upper and lower legs.

• Stretch just to the point of discomfort, not pain. You’ll know and understand this once you start stretching, your muscles will tell you when you have reached the maximum range.

• Try to hold each stretch for 15 seconds.

• It’s very important not to bounce as you stretch, exhale as your increase your range of stretching.

• Please avoid doing anything that causes discomfort, if you’re unsure of how to properly do any stretch exercise please seek the help of a professional or you can find all kinds of information on the internet for stretching exercises.

Now that you have warmed up and stretched you will need a cool down period, which can occur while you’re getting your riding gear on. At this point you should be focused on your current race or ride and your body is ready for the vigorous activity of riding dirt bikes. Also in-between motos or after resting from your trail ride, you would need to warm up and stretch again before you go back out. Remember that warming up and stretching needs to be part of your regular work out routine and not just on race or ride day. Why warm-up and stretch? It prepares your body for the stress of exercise, whether aerobic or resistance training. Your muscles should be warm and your heart should be pumping oxygen enriched blood before you ask your body to perform at a higher level. So get out there and ride and have fun.