Tension in the Forearms (elbow or neck pain)
Myofascial Release Technique: Skin Rolling.
- With the opposite hand, pinch the skin on your forearm, and roll your skin back and forth. Do this in various places over your forearm.
You are breaking up fascial adhesions when you do this so it may be a little uncomfortable, although we don’t want it to hurt. Let your body guide you with sensation. A little discomfort is ok, but it doesn’t need to hurt.
Duration: Roll out 10-20 different small sections of each forearm (about 2 minutes each).
Myofascial Release Technique: Arm Aid
- This is a tool that has kept many massage therapists in their profession, and has kept many climbers healthy as they gain strength and tension in their sport. It is also a wonderful tool for mountain bikers. While the initial cost may feel like a lot, we promise that it is worth the investment. This is a great tool to use while watching TV or while riding in a car. It can help you break up all of the tension from your wrist to your tricep and will do wonders for any neck or elbow pain you may be experiencing from your bike riding.
Duration: We recommend using the “Armaid” at least a few times a week for 5 minutes each arm.
Tension in the Neck
Myofascial Release Technique: Tennis Ball to release tension your chest/pectoral muscles
- Laying on your stomach, place the tennis ball just inside your armpit. Using your breath, slowly allow your bodyweight to rest on the tennis ball. As your body begins to relax, you can add in small movements of your arm. After a few breaths, move the tennis ball around to different areas of your chest/pec.
Duration: Allow yourself to take a few breaths each time you move the tennis ball around. Try to melt your body into the ball, relaxing into the myofascial release. To get more out of this, you can always incorporate big, sweeping movements of your arm or try a lacrosse ball. Repeat on the other side.
Pose: Chest opener stretch
- This pose is a great one to do after laying on a tennis ball. Laying on your stomach, extend one arm out to the side at a 90* angle to your body. Flip your hand so that your thumb is pointed towards your feet. Slowly press your other hand into the ground to roll your torso up and away from the floor. You should feel this stretch through the pectoral muscles of your chest.
Duration: Allow for at least 7 breaths here. Your body will initially feel tense, so give it time to relax into this stretch. After 7-10 breaths, slowly bring your torso back to the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Tension in Calves
Myofascial Release Technique: Knee to Calf
- Begin on all 4’s on the ground. Lift your left knee and place it onto your right calf. Your body will let you know how much pressure is accurate. Once you find the right amount of pressure, you can bend and straighten your left leg. Remember to use your breath here as it can feel intense! Our calves do a lot of work while we are on our bikes, so there might be a lot of tension hidden within your muscles.
- Move your knee to several different areas on your calf, taking your time at each location.
Duration: 5-7 deep breaths for each place on your calf.
Myofascial Release Technique: Ball to Foot
- Much of the tension in our legs and backs begin in our feet! Breaking up tightness in the soles of your feet can release lines of tension elsewhere. You can do this with a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or even a small bouncy ball.
Place the ball under your foot and begin with light, broad strokes over the entire sole of your foot. This wakes up your foot and readies your nervous system for more pressure. After doing this for about a minute, rest your foot on top of the ball in one location, and slowly increase pressure by adding more weight. Then back off the pressure, and repeat 3x. Move the ball to another location on your foot and repeat a series of 3 weight shifts onto the ball.
Duration: 3 minutes per foot.
For everything mentioned above, use your breath to support your body’s release of tension. Breath is crucial in all aspects of movement – biking AND stretching.
If you have been experiencing any level of tension or pain in your body, we invite you to try to incorporate 10 minutes of the above stretches into your day for just 1 week. We believe that you may find some relief!