Stretching for More

Stretching helps all apsects of ridingOkay, this may sound kind of weird, but it makes sense.  If you have ever watched an animal wake up from a nap or sleep, they always do two things.  The first is yawn.  The second is stretch!  All animals have a primal instinct that tells them to stretch when they wake up, so they are ready for the day.  A lot of people, myself included, need to stretch every day; not only when you get up, but before and after workouts.  I’m not saying to do yoga every day.  There is a difference between yoga and stretching.  Yoga has different “categories” and can promote strength and help cleanse your mind.  I’ll do an article on yoga later, but right now, stretching is the topic on hand. 

Like yoga, there are different kinds of stretching.  There are about 7 types, but the main ones are static, dynamic and ballistic stretching.  Static is the standard stuff you do in PE.  These stretches should last around 30 seconds or so.  For instance, doing toe touches and holding you arm across your chest would be considered static.  Dynamic stretching usually involves a circular motion, like swinging your arms forward and back to loosen up your shoulders.  Finally, ballistic stretching utilizes bouncing.  Normally, you want to do static and dynamic stretching before this.  For example, ballistic stretching would be if you touch your toes and bounced a bit to get a little more of stretch.    

The main reason you stretch before an activity, including motocross, is to prevent injury.  If you have ever been to a football game, the teams always stretch before the game and at half time.  When I was riding and racing every weekend, I made it a habit to stretch before EACH moto.  In the morning, before my first moto, I would stretch because my muscles and joints were cold.  I would usually get my pants and jersey on, then do some jumping jacks and stretch.  If you try to stretch with your boots on, you won’t get the full effect and you look pretty clumsy.  Whenever I would get in from my moto, I would chill under the awning and relax.  However, when they called 5 minutes until my class was up, I would stretch again because your body has cooled down and your muscles and joints have tensed up.  Although you may be hot still, you need to get your internals ready for the moto. 

If you have lower back trouble, like my father, toe touches and anything that stretches your hamstrings will help significantly.  Finding tense or sore spots on the body and stretching those helps them loosen them up and heal faster.  That is why you need to stretch after exercise as well; you will be less likely to be sore if you stretch, especially after weight lifting.  As long as you hit the main muscle groups and major joints like the shoulders, hips, elbows and knees, you’ll be fine.  Just don’t forget the neck and ankles, as well.  Once you find your routine, try to do it a few times a day and I guarantee your riding and training will improve.

Posted on Aug 09 2009, under Training | No Comments »

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