Mountain Biking and Back Pain: How to Prevent It and Cure It!
I have finally rid myself of the back pain that has bothered me most of my adult life, but has been really annoying in the last ten years (I honestly thought all mountain bikers had some back pain, it was the price we pay for having so much fun!). Before I share my cure with you, I want you to understand three important things.
Step one: myofascial release! I have known about myofascial release through foam rolling for years, but there are ways to get more and better release, or as my teacher called it myofascial unwinding.
How to do step three, Yin Yoga:
Now for the actual Yin Yoga exercises that eased the pain and kept it away.
Now! And the future of your back:
Currently, in addition to working 40-60 hours a week, I’m doing five yoga classes a week, two to three 45 minute workouts, my own yoga practice, riding and rolling around on those yellow torture devices (tennis balls) for at least 15 minutes a day. If I can do it, you can do it!
Wired Magazine has a series of articles on a road rider learning how to mountain bike. The series takes him through learning about different bikes, learning on his own and attending one of our mtb skills camps. The writer also calls BetterRide founder Gene Hamilton “… essentially the lovechild of Ted Nugent and Jeff Spicoli”! […]
Seriously, I made myself crash! I didn’t want to crash but if you watched the lead up to my crash I did everything possible to set myself up for disaster.
Your body and your brain both need to be warmed up and in bike mode (not loving father mode, stressed out business woman mode, mad about bad drivers mode or still thinking about what your boss said mode!) before you end down a trail!
As you know, (if you have taken a camp from us) we always tell our mtb students to ride with a purpose, “I am going to work on braking before the turns.” “I am going to focus on keeping my weight on the pedals.” Well I just realized that these purposes are sub-goals or process goals (Smaller goals we use to reach big goals.). I still recommend that you ride with a purpose but recently in a yoga class I learned a more powerful tool for improving your riding!
How does this apply to you as a mountain biker? We need to understand the difference between an intention and a purpose and sometimes have a purpose and other times focus on your intention. I didn’t see the difference between the two before. “Riding as smooth as I can” is a great example, I used to tell students that this is a great purpose yet in reality it is an intention. Riding as smooth as you can requires a lot of separate skills or purposes, relaxed grip on the bars, weight on the pedals, elbows up and out, chest down, chin up, relaxed ankles, looking ahead and working with the trail. When you set the intention of being as smooth as you can be you will do all the skills required to be smooth.
Acceptance; love yourself, you are perfect as you are right now. As an athlete I am always working to improve my body; become stronger, faster, more flexible! As a mountain bike coach and human being I have learned that too much focus on who/what we will be can hold us back. So often we are […]