Better movement on and off the bike!… This past Sunday we had the pleasure of working with a local Ladies Mountain Bike group, who were hosting a beginner riders clinic. Our role in the event was to provide the riders with a warm up before they continued on for the day, learning more about riding and the skills that come along with it. Being mountain bikers ourselves, not only is this a great opportunity to help spread the sport we love, but also to provide riders with an insight into “better movement” and some information about what they can do off the bike to help their bodies be happy, healthy, and fitter for when they ride!
In situations like this where we are not the “main” event, we have to be diligent in making the most of our time and provide people with a good and basic understanding of how and why using “natural movements” can be beneficial to us as well rounded humans. We choose movements that are not only easy to teach and understand quickly, but that are also valuable to the participants, both for their given activity as well as their time away from that activity. Just as we preach to our clients, it’s all about quality and not necessarily quantity!
The three chosen movements of focus for our time with this particular group were the squat, the crawl, and the inverted crawl. With these three movements, we were able to express mobility, coordination, and strength, and as well, in most cases, challenge the participants to move in a way they haven’t for some time, which also happened to be quite fun! As we explained, though the activity of mountain biking requires the rider to navigate the trails using their bodies in a variety of ways, by getting back to the natural movements of squatting, crawling, and inverted crawling, we’re essentially hitting the reset button. We are re-aligning the body, helping to negate the effects of thousands of pedal rotations. Just as well, we’re opening up our hips, creating upper body stability, and gaining strength in some sections of the body that will see a benefit when back on the bike. Equally important, we are having fun and getting strong!
One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching large groups like this about natural movement is seeing the “Ah ha!” moments that people have when they understand the “how and why” of what we do. I’ll admit, in our ultra modern society of cushy foam mattresses, ergonomic office chairs, shiny thousand dollar gym equipment, etc., it seems a little goofy to get down on the ground and crawl around. I’m not sure if it’s because we can’t exactly quantify it in the way we can time and miles traveled on a treadmill, or if it’s because we think because babies do it but we’re too good for it… Whatever the case may be, once people actually try it for themselves and move “like a baby”, the light goes on and the smiles come out.
Like I said, working with this group was an absolute pleasure. The enthusiasm and energy they had was contagious. It was a wonderful day for us and we hope it was an equally wonderful day for everyone that came out and joined along, squatting and crawling themselves to better movement and better health!