Let’s face it, injuries are a regular part of mountain biking – it’s a riskier sport than, say, hiking. But that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid or minimize your mountain bike injuries. A little bit of preparation and a dose of smarts can help you avoid a lot of injuries.
Mountain bike injuries fall into 2 general categories:
A) Wear-and-tear type injuries as a result of poor preparation/overtraining/riding too long
B) Injuries sustained through crashes
HOW TO AVOID COMMON MOUNTAIN BIKE INJURIES
The key to avoiding injuries of type A is some basic preparation. The key to avoiding type B injuries is not being dumb.
1. Get fit: the best way to prevent wear-and-tear injuries is to get as fit as possible – especially with respect to back injuries, which are common for mountain bikers due to our hunched-over position and repetitive strain on our core. Get in the groove of a regular strength training program, and make sure you’re training your core: bicycle crunches, lateral raises, etc…
To get you started, here are a few training tips and exercises from our friend Steven at Monvida Sports.
mber: make flexibility a regular part of your fitness routine. Start and end each workout session with 5-10 minutes of flexibility training. Get into yoga – yoga and mountain biking are a perfect complement to each other, like peanut butter and chocolate. The added flexibility and strength from your yoga practice will serve you well on the trail and help you ride better and more injury-free! (BTW we’ve got some amazing yoga/MTB camps for women). And here are a few suggested stretches you can make part of your regular routine.
3. Warm up before you ride: riding without warming up is a great way to get injured! Take 5 to 10 minutes before your ride to warm up (I suggest the classic burpee for an all-body warmup) and do a light stretch. If you don’t have time to warm up, then at least try to start your ride off with 15-20 minutes of easy riding so you can warm up before you get into the hard stuff.
4. Plan your ride: know where you’re going and how long it will take to finish your ride. One of the most common causes of injury is fatigue: when you’re tired you’re more prone to wear-and-tear injuries as well as crashes. Poor planning can mean your 2-hour ride turns into a 6-hour epic, riding the last 2 hours on empty, and/or riding in the dark.
5. Make sure your bike is in good shape and give it a full inspection before you ride: nothing ruins your day more than taking air off a jump and having your front wheel come out of the fork because the axle wasn’t screwed in (trust me on this one). Make sure all the bolts and quick releases are tight, check your frame for cracks, etc… check out our ‘Top 7 Tips on Keeping Your Bike in Tip-Top Shape’.