Exercise: Bird Dogs
Continuing the theme of warming up our hips and back, the bird dog allows you to work those muscles while on your knees, helping to begin to warm-up your shoulders and mid/upper back. Stay square to the ground on these, don’t rotate your hips and chest into the air.
Do a better job than I did in the video of staying balanced. Controlling the tempo will help with that. Try and raise the arms and legs at the same time, and keep your back nice and flat. These can be challenging, so break them up into a few sets.
Dynamic Warm-up Upper Body
Exercise: Arm Circles
Just about the oldest warm-up movement in the book, arm circles are still very useful. I personally know that when I ride my DR-Z400 SM, I tend to get very tight shoulders from generally just being too tense on the bars. Circling the arms with an increasing range of motion (palms down and palms up) in both directions loosens up the entire shoulder in a big way.
I like to do these in sets of ten forwards and backwards, and then switching palm positions and repeating. If you experience some clicking in the shoulder while circling the arms, slow down and try and keep circling until it goes away.
Exercise: Arnold Press
Yes, it’s named after that Arnold. This is often performed weighted as a strength exercise, but I am a huge fan of it for the purpose of warming up the upper back and shoulders. When gripping the bars tightly, or with bars that are slightly high, the traps (upper back) can become very tight. Make sure when performing this movement that you press up and out at the same time, not separately.
Run through the Arnold Press a few times until you start to feel your upper and mid back starting to work. It is likely that you might hear some snap crackle and pop the first few reps, but that’s fine, many of us have upper backs and necks that need to be released.
Now that you’re warmed up, give these guys a shot. Conversely, you can also do these just after getting off the bike. Try and hold each position for a long count of ten, followed by a big exhale, and then another ten seconds of a slightly deeper stretch. Don’t start stretching at your maximal physical limit, gradually work into the range of motion.
Exercise: Glute/Ham Stretch
This is a multi-purpose stretch that needs a chair, rock, cooler, etc. on which to plant your foot. With a slight bend in the knee, apply force so that you feel a stretch in the upper hamstring and glute. After a few seconds, press forward to get the hip, and then back into extension.
Play around with the elevation of your foot and the flex in your knee. Find a place that feels like it needs stretching, hang out there for a bit, and then keep moving. For further degrees of difficulty, pull your toes up to your shin.
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