YOGA FOR MOTOCROSS RIDERS
Yoga and motocross might seem like strange bedfellows but as a rider, bringing attention to your flexibility, range of motion and recovery could be just the thing you need to give you the edge. Practicing a variety of styles of yoga, some restorative, others incredibly challenging, some designed for strength and others to improve the elasticity in your muscles, will eliminate your aches and pains and help you to become a faster and more well-rounded athlete.
YOGA 15 AND MOTOCROSS
My own interest in yoga and motocross is not, unfortunately, first hand! I’ve never knowingly shredded the gnar🤘My first experience came at the beginning of 2020, when I spent a couple of months at the SoCal motocross tracks, including Pala and Cahuilla, helping my friend Charley with his racing and recovery. When I moved to Mexico after the pandemic hit, Matthias—a young and incredibly talented trials and enduro motorcycle bike came to work with us.
It’s hard to imagine two sports more different than motocross and yoga but actually the combination is magic! Yoga teaches you to unlock your hips to get into the optimal riding position, it can help you to build stability in the core and upper body and provides you with the depth of recovery you need for what is arguably the most gruelling sport to train on the planet!
In November 2018, some friends and I went on a training ride up a technical, loose, rocky climb. We got to a point on the trail where the only way to ascend was to wheelie-pivot around rocks and switchbacks. Unfortunately, I got unlucky that day. As I slipped the clutch and tried to lift the front wheel around an obstacle, the rear of the motorcycle tucked underneath me and sent the bike sideways. As the bike was falling, the handlebar landed directly on my knee as it was fully extended. A sharp “clack-pop” bid my meniscus and ACL farewell. It’s a sound I’ll never forget.
TORN ACL AND MENISCUS DAMAGE
In the accident, I hyperextended my leg and in doing so, completely tore my ACL and damaged a large area of the meniscus on my left knee. I’ve been to many doctors and received several diagnoses and as yet, have not undergone surgery.
In spite of some pain here and there, I’ve been able to dirt bike, mountain bike, and generally stay pretty active. I don’t advocate avoiding knee surgery, however, I do believe the human body has impressive ways of healing itself. And yoga has given me the tools to keep this machine running without a major intervention.
HOW YOGA HAS HELPED MY RIDING
My experience with yoga started out with a fair amount of resistance. I didn’t really follow a set sequence or routine. But Yoga 15 and Abi have helped me find a rhythm that has become a virtuous cycle. The more I do it, the better I feel and the more I want to do it.
This past summer I rode 3-4 days a week without swelling or any negative repercussions from intense training and I have no doubt in my mind that yoga has had a major influence on this.
YOGA FOR MOTOCROSS: 4 POSES I PRACTISE TO STRENGTHEN MY KNEES
I encourage Matthias to practise a wide variety of poses and sequences and in fact, this summer, he was instrumental in test-driving all the new videos that we’re currently releasing each week. He took to yoga very quickly and demonstrated an amazing natural ability!
Having said that, in a push, when he’d rather be out on his trials bike than stretching out on his mat, these are the poses I have prescribed to strengthen his knee as safely as possible so that he can continue to delay surgery if he chooses.
1. BRIDGE POSE
Bridge pose is great for strengthening and stabilising the knees, especially before a ride. Check that your feet are hip-width apart and directly underneath your knees. Bring your arms by your sides, palms facing down. And lift your hips up until you have a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and to your knees. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths.
2. LOCUST POSE
Locust pose is also great for strengthening the knees, as well as the entire posterior chain. It’s another good one to do before your ride. On an inhalation, lift your hands, chest, arms, legs and feet off the mat. Exhale, draw your shoulders back. Squeeze your glutes and keep reaching back through your fingertips. Hold the pose for 3-5 slow breaths.
Chair can be an awkward pose but it’s great for strengthening the knees, quads and glutes. You can bring your feet hip-width apart or together. Bend your knees, only as much as is comfortable. Draw your lower abs in to protect your lower back, reach through your fingertips and look straight ahead. Your hands can come together or shoulder-width apart. Hold for 3-5 excruciating breaths.
4. HIGH LUNGE
High Lunge is another fantastic knee and quad strengthener that also stretches the hip flexors on the opposite leg. Take a big step back and drop your hips so that your front thigh is parallel with the mat and your knee stacks directly over your ankle. Come up onto the ball of your back foot, draw your lower abs in and lift your arms up by your ears. Hold the pose still for 3-5 breaths.
YOGA FOR MOTOCROSS RIDERS COURSE
If you’re a subscriber, you can head over to the COURSES section on the site and start the brand new MOTOCROSS 15 program. I’d really appreciate your feedback. And if you’re not a subscriber yet, what are you waiting for?! Sign up for your 30-Day Free Trial today!