Mobility. What does that word mean to you? It would imply some type of movement right? Correct; " the ability to move or be moved freely and easily", the definition of mobility. So why am I speaking to you about moving? Before you start any training session in the the gym, at home or when riding mobility warm ups are essential. I have seen many people at shows who come out of the lorry ready to jump on, just stop for a moment and take a minute to do some stretching before mounting. Whilst that is a great start standing still doing static stretches isn't going to do you much good, to be honest its a bit of a waste of time at all if I'm brutally honest.
It's what we have always been taught before sports or exercise warm up before you begin which is absolutely essential. But with dynamic movements, now this is the difference & an absolute must to get the most out of your performance.
Standing still & attempting to pull your muscles side to side really isn't going to reap many benefits. When your muscles are cold & haven't been moving we first have to get them warmed up so they are able to move well & assist you to their best ability. When you static stretch (standing still) as research has shown it can be impair strength due to joint instability as your cold and your body has not been moving. It has also been found in research that holding a static stretch when attempting to warm up can actually impair blood flow & in some cases lead to a build up of lactic acid as well as causing damage to muscles and tendons; exactly what we are trying to avoid!
So move in Dynamic active stretching! Before any training session with myself or clients I spend a good 15 minutes on mobility & activation exercises before moving to training. You will most definitely notice the benefits incorporating dynamic stretches before any riding or exercise in general. Dynamic stretching can sound a little confusing & I am sure you will see many people who can jump in the air whilst stretching their leg towards the sky, do not fear dynamic stretching are nice simple moving exercises to free up your muscles & warm up your body ready to start the session. You will feel a difference when using mobility and activation before sessions, it is waking up the body and each muscle you work so you are ready to push when you start training.
I suggest from now you start doing a 10 or 15 minute warm up before riding and see how it helps you. The key is to keep moving whilst stretching, don't over complicate it. Walking lunges, jumping jacks great exercises! Here is a set of 10 exercises to try as your mobility set. Let me know how you get on!
1) Walking Lunges; Alternate legs and walk up and down taking one leg behind and bending back knee as close to floor as possible with front knee bent and foot on the floor.
2)Leg Kicks; Kick your legs up to a 90 degree angle, at the same time reach the opposite hand to the ceiling & feel a stretch in your core as well as your legs7
3)Jumping jacks; On the spot jump feet in and out and take hands up and down in sync.
4)Arm Circles; Circle your arms 10 times to the front and then change direction 10 times backwards.
5)Knee Hugs; Walking in a line bring your knee towards your chest and hug your knee with arms. Alternate legs.
6)Heel Kicks; Either walk or run and kick your legs to your bum simple!
7) Squat rotation; Perform a squat nice and slowly as you drive up to standing position rotate your upper body to the left side, repeat squat and then rotate to the right. Repeat 10 times each side.
8) Swimmers; Lying on the floor face down lift your opposite leg and arm together and then alternate as if you are in a swimming position. 7
9) Lunge Swings; Perform a wide side lunge and rock side to side with your body bent and your arms reaching in front of you toward the floor.
10)Lunge reach; Perform a forward lunge as you drive up standing reach arm up and over to stretch core. Alternate sides.
I hope you find these helpful. Let me know how you find them introducing them to your training, trust me your body will thank you.