Flexibility is one of the most important parts of fitness. Keeping healthy muscle tissue and range of movement in your joints is key in having efficient technique, improved performance, preventing injury and recovering after exercise. Not only that but it can help you add those extra rotations through your tricks, pretzel out of a rail and open up a whole new range of grabs.
Factors which affect flexibility:
– Joint Structure
– Body temperature
– Strength training
As shown above some factors will be genetic, but there is always room for improvement and you should work through your flexibility gently and with your body, as apposed to against it.
Effects of stretch Training:
– Increased range of movement at joints
– Increased circulation to muscles
– Improved balance and co-ordination between muscle groups
– Improved mechanical efficiency and thus speed and skill
– Increased elasticity and length of muscles
You should train your flexibility before and after your training sessions, as well as riding sessions. Riding for a few hours may not feel as tough as a workout in the gym but trust us it is still working your muscles and pushing them to the same extremes.
Warm ups should be performed prior to your training/riding. For your warm ups you should perform dynamic stretches. These are movements where a muscle or group of muscles are worked gradually through their range. The movements should resemble the same kind of movement patterns to those you will be doing during the session.
Cool downs should encompass static maintenance and developmental stretches. Static stretches involve you performing movements that take the muscle slowly to the end of the range. Holding it there and adding further stretch. Make sure you are targeting the muscles that were used during the session.
Avoid bouncing during stretching, as it does not give the tissue enough time to adapt and respond, often resulting in strain.
We have an Instructional video for a full body stretching routine, just follow the link below: