RIDE UNLIMITED MOVEMENT CHALLENGE

Click on the exercise name to go to the video

More info on the Ride Unlimited Program

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 1

“Drill Bits”  

• Kneel and set the back of you hand on the floor, with your fingers pointing back towards you. Gently hold it in place with your other hand. From here, rotate your elbow pit to face forward while locking out your elbow. Hold for 2 seconds, then return to the start. Do 10 reps each side.

Active Wrist Extensions 

• Hold your forearms together as shown, with your hands in a fist. There are 3 stages: keeping the fist, pull your hands back as far as possible. From there, extend at the first knuckle. Finally, extend all of the fingers, pulling back as hard as you can. Hold for 3 seconds, then return and repeat. You’ll notice that I am shaking from the intense muscular contraction! Do 5 reps with as much effort as you can manage.

Today’s challenge is to do these exercises as a 3 round circuit: 

10 Drill Bits each arm

5 Active Wrist Extensions

This should only take a few minutes.

Wrist and finger strength is often very imbalanced in riders, as gripping the bars creates strength min one way, while many other hand functions stay weaker. Stretch & strengthen the wrist for better arm & elbow health when riding!

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 2

Single Leg Stand

This one is harder than it looks for most! With your shoes off, stand with good posture, tucking your hips under a little as shown to engage the glutes (butt muscles). Then, lift and hold one leg just out in front. Hold for a total of 3 minutes per leg. Making it straight through without pausing is a good standard to hit, but if you need to rest, take 2 breaths to recover and then get right back into it. Continue until you have totaled 3 min, then do the same on the other side.

You want to feel your glutes and foot muscles working to hold you stable. If you can make 3 minutes, then if you try it in the future, hold weights.

While riders – especially Flatlanders – often have good balance, the muscles of the foot are often weak and underdeveloped when standing on flat ground. This can lead to all kinds of problems farther up the body, such as knee, hip, or back pain.

Today’s challenge is to do 3 minutes on each leg, with as few breaks as possible.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 3

Shinbox Switches

Here are 3 versions of today’s movement. Try all 3 in order as shown, then find the one that challenges you the most and perform 20 switches each direction. Rest as needed, and move slowly for more control.

This exercise works on rotation of the hips and the ability to move the lower part of your spine well. Both are important if you want to move fluidly and pain-free on the bike and off. 

When you are in the shinbox position, try to sit as upright as possible. Do not hold your breath at any point, but exhale through the part where you compress while making the switch.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 4

Pistol Squat to Bench

On day 4, we’ll do a little strength work! 

Find a bench, box, or chair. You’ll stand on one leg close to the object, While keeping your foot flat on the floor, sit back to the chair, touching down lightly and with control. Stand back up from there without rocking forward to use momentum.

Stack books or pillows on the bench if it’s too low – you want to experiment and find a height you can sit to with either leg with good control. It may well be higher than you are expecting, as this one can be deceptively tough if done correctly!

Once you’ve found a height that works, the challenge today is to do 3 sets of 8 per leg, resting as needed.

Being able to do around 10 reps per leg to a standard bench height is a good first strength metric to shoot for. Beyond that, we can begin holding weight or working towards the full depth Pistol Squats without a bench.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 5

Side Plank Powell Raise 

Here’s a combined strength movement for both the shoulders and torso. It’s a variation on the Powell Raise movement where instead of doing it lying on a bench, you hold a side plank instead. There’s actually research on this showing more muscle activation by doing it in a side plank, plus it eliminates boredom during the plank hold…

You’ll need a light dumbbell for this one, but no worries if you don’t have one – hold any object you can find around the house that weighs 5-10 lbs to start. (2-5 kg)

Set up in a side plank with your top foot in front. Start with the weight overhead above your chin, then lower it with a mostly straight arm to nearly the floor. Raise it back to the start position. Control the motion, taking about 3 seconds to lower and one second to lift. Be sure the weight stays in line with your chin!

Do 3 sets of 8 reps per side, resting 1-2 minutes between sets. A good eventual goal to work toward on these is holding a weight that’s around 10% of your bodyweight for 8 reps per arm.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 6

Sezia (Shin) Stretch

Stiffness at the ankle and lower leg can not only limit how well your ankle is functioning, but since it’s also your base of support, it can effect how you are able to move the rest of your body as well.

This one is very simple, but many people find it challenging to do at first. 

Kneel on a soft surface. Point your feet away, and try to tuck your feet next to each other with your heels as close as you can manage. Sit back into a stretch of the shin muscles and top of the foot. 

Adjust the stretch by leaning forward If it’s too intense, or leaning back if you need to increase the stretch. You can also modify it even more by using a rolled up towel or yoga block. If even leaning forward is too difficult, place the towel or block below your knees to take some pressure off. Or, on the other side, if even leaning back still isn’t enough, you can make it more difficult by putting your toes on the towel or block as I show at the end of the video.

Today’s challenge is to hold for 2 minutes. Be sure to start with a gentle stretch that you can slowly ease into more over the 2 minutes. Do not start too intense where you need to back out before 2 minutes. 

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 7

Overhead Side Bends

Side bending is one of the most common movement limitations I see in nearly everyone, rider or not. And, inability to move in this basic pattern leads to a wide range of limitations in the low back, hips, and even shoulders.

Grab a dowel or broomstick and hold it overhead with a shoulder width grip. Tuck your hips under and draw the front of your ribs down as I show in the video. Then, push your hips out to the side, then bend to the side from there. Keep the dowel centered over your spine and your neck in line. Keep trying to push the dowel away while in the side bend to add more stretch to the muscles around the shoulder.

Do 3 sets of 5 reps to each side, moving slowly and holding the stretched position for 3 seconds each rep.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 8

Exhale Breath Holds

Breathing properly is a huge & under-appreciated factor in recovering and even moving better.

I’ll be posting more on this in the future, but for now a quick overview:

Most people breathe very shallow and quickly, which actually leads to poor oxygen usage by your cells. You become overly sensitive to carbon dioxide (Co2), however you need enough Co2 to release oxygen efficiently. 

Rapid, shallow breathing also leads to fatigue, more muscular tension through the body, nervousness/anxiety, and slower recovery from riding or exercise.

Today’s challenge is both an assessment and an exercise to begin breathing better. Sit comfortably, in any position you like. It doesn’t need to be the position I’m showing. With a timer, exhale and hold your breath at the top of each minute for 6-10 minutes.

Start with a 15 second hold, breathing normally for the rest of the minute. If that went ok, add 5 seconds and try 20 sec. Keep adding 5 seconds until you find a hold time that is challenging but do-able.

Holding for 30 seconds every minute without being too difficult is a good place to get to starting out. I have done 50 sec holds every minute for 10 minutes, so you can see where this can eventually go with some training.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 9

Passive Bar Hang

Hanging is a fundamental human ability that’s often overlooked. It’s one of the best shoulder flexibility exercises you can do, and it also decompresses the spine and develops grip strength.

Having a bar to hang from at home is essential, in my opinion. However, you can usually find one at a nearby park if you don’t have one, so I put this exercise on a weekend where you might have more time to go and find one.

When you are hanging, you want to tuck your hips and round the lower back slightly as I show at the start. If your bar is lower to the ground, you’ll need to tuck your knees, but still try to maintain this shape. This will help to decompress the back. 

Grab the bar with a shoulder width overhand grip. Let your shoulders and arms stretch out, with your biceps coming up to cover your ears.

Today’s challenge is to accumulate 3 minutes of hanging time, resting as needed. A good basic metric is to be able to hang for 1 minute, but for serious riders, a 2 minute hang would be better.

If you currently have some shoulder instability, then the active hang I show in the second slide would be more appropriate starting out – it’s the same, except you pull your shoulder blades down and back and hold from this position. A 30 sec hold is a good metric here.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 10

The Couch Stretch

Tightness in the quadriceps and hip flexor muscles is extremely common, and something nearly everyone has to work on to gain better mobility. This is due in part to how much we sit nowadays. If you lack this range of motion, then knee and low back pain becomes more likely. 

While there are numerous things that can help improve this, the classic Couch stretch still holds value. It’s also a great assessment.

First off, pad your knee that you are kneeling on. Place your foot on a wall, then bring the other foot out in front like a lunge. From here, you want to tuck your hips under slightly and contract your glute on the stretch side. Do not arch through the low back – note how my spine is staying straight. Find a distance from the wall where you can work to get upright as shown.

The goal eventually would be to have your knee all the way to the wall, and be able to get fully upright without arching at the back, as I show at the end. 

Today’s challenge is to hold for 3 minutes on each side. Start at a mild stretch that you can slowly ease into more over the 3 minutes. Don’t start out so intense that you need to back out of the stretch. Keep your breathing relaxed.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 11

Elevated Hip Shift

A quick & easy one today, but it’s an important exercise that may make your hips & back feel better at once!

You need an object that’s 4-6” high – a foam roller or a yoga block works well, but if you don’t have those handy, a stack of books can work too.

Set up on all fours, with one knee on your object. Start with your hips level and keep both thighs in line with each other throughout whole exercise. Now, dip your floating knee towards the floor, only as far as you can while keeping your thighs in line. You may feel a strong stretch or activation in the inner thigh and may get a release in the low back.

Compare the two sides – there are often significant differences.

Do three sets of 15 each side, alternating sides. You could pair this with the hanging work we did a few days back if you like.

This is a good exercise to do before riding or before any other training the you do.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 12

Wall Shin Lifts (aka: Tibialis Raises)

Strengthen your lower leg and ankle with this simple exercise – the tibialis muscle is on the front of the lower leg and it lifts the foot. It’s rarely trained by most people, so it is a weak point for most.

For riders, this is an important muscle to strengthen! It helps strengthen the ankle to take the abuse of the odd positions we put our foot in while riding, not to mention to help taking falls.

Set up with your butt on a wall and your legs straight. The closer your feet are to the wall, the easier it is, so adjust your distance so that you can hit the reps needed.

With straight legs, lift your toes and hold the top position for 2 seconds on each rep. Touch your toes back to the floor at the bottom each time.

Today’s challenge is to do 3 sets of around 10-15 reps as described – basically go until you have a good burn in the shin muscles and it’s getting hard to lift your toes as high as you were. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 13

Scap Pushups

Strong, mobile, and stable shoulder blades are important for everyone, and especially for riders. This is another area where nearly everyone is lacking, even those who follow conventional workout routines.

This pushup variation focuses just on the shoulder blades. There should be no arm bending, it’s just your shoulder blades moving on the ribcage.

Set up in a good straight arm plank. The low back should be flat and not sagging, as I demonstrate at the start. Keep your neck in line, and don’t reach it forward like a chicken while doing these!

From here, keep your weight even between the outside and thumb side of your hands (don’t let the thumb side peel up), then push the ground away by reaching through the shoulder blades. Pause for 2 seconds, then pull your shoulder blades together and pause for 2 seconds. Don’t bend your arms when you pull them together! Repeat for reps.

This may be a small movement for you at first, but it will develop with time if you work on it. Watch out for rounding the upper spine to get more range of motion – for this exercise, it’s just the shoulder blades we are wanting to move.

Today’s challenge is to accumulate 30 quality reps, in whatever scheme you can do with good quality. Some may do 3 x 10, others 6 x 5 reps, etc.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 14

Bowler Squat

This is a hip strength exercise that improves both strength and flexibility. I chose it because it hits a limitation or weakness that riders will often have.

Stand sideways next to a wall, with your shoulder not quite touching the wall. Stand on the leg closest to the wall, being sure that your foot is pointed straight forward. 

From there, you’ll bend the knee slightly, reach the wall hand behind you, then fold at the hip to reach the other hand forward to touch the wall as low as you can without loosing position, You’ll rotate towards the wall some as you do this, stretching the outside of the hip. Work your way lower over time as you get more flexible.

Stand back up by using your glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself back to standing upright and lock and hold the top position for a moment before doing the next rep.

Today’s challenge is to do 4 sets of 6 reps each side, resting as needed. Move slowly & with control. Note any side to side differences.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 15

Box Breathing Ladder

Today is another day where the challenge is breathing related. Look back at day 8 if you missed it for why this is a very important area for health, performance, and recovery!

Box breathing is a breathing cadence where you inhale, hold, exhale, then hold again all at equal times. 4-4-4-4 refers to a cadence of 4 sec inhale, 4 sec hold, 4 sec exhale, 4 sec hold. It’s the same on all sides, like a box, hence the name.

For today’s challenge, sit or lie comfortably. Start at 3-3-3-3, then add one second to each phase every second breath. Once it just starts to get a bit uncomfortable, but NOT your max effort, back off by 3 seconds each side and breathe using that cadence for 5-10 minutes.

If you do this more going forward, you can just start with this cadence for a while. Re-test now and then to see if your baseline has moved. 

Being able to settle in at 8-8-8-8 or 9-9-9-9 is a good metric to develop over time.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 16

Scap Pullups

This exercise is both a strength movement and a stretch. As I laid out on day 13, we need to be able to move and control our shoulder blades (aka: scapula) and be strong in the process.

Hang from a bar, then let your shoulders fully stretch out. Pause for 2-3 seconds, then pull your shoulder blades down and back while keeping your arms straight. Hold the top position for 2-3 seconds, then lower back to a full stretch hang. 

Your range of motion my be smaller starting out, just be careful not to start bending your arms to add a few inches. Most people, especially riders, will want to pull with the arms and not the weaker muscles around the shoulder blades. This is especially true if you do regular pullups already. 

Perform 3 sets of 5-10 reps, depending on your current level of strength. Pause at the top and bottom of each rep for 3 seconds each.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 17

Elephant Walk

This is one of my favorite hamstring stretches, as it hits the outside part of the hamstring that is often the tightest. This is what tends to be the tightest part for riders due to the angles the leg is in on most tricks.

Find some sort of object you can bend down to and place your palms on. Your knees will be bent slightly. Flex your quadriceps on one side to lock the leg out straight, while the opposite side stays bent. Hold for a moment, then re-bend that leg while now locking out the opposite leg.

Repeat back and forth as shown. You end up swaying side to side as you do this, looking a little like how an elephant walks. 

Make sure the object you use is at a height you are able to get your leg straight – if you can’t get it straight after a few reps, find something a bit higher. As you go through the exercise, you may be able to use something slightly lower on the later sets. 

Doing these with the palms on the floor is a good goal to achieve over time.

Today’s challenge is to do 3 x 1 min of the Elephant Walk, trying to use a slightly lower platform each time. (only if you can get those legs straight though!!) Stay in it for 1 min without breaking. Rest as needed (30-60 sec or so) between each walk.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 18

Elbow Dowel Mobilization

This is the movement that has got at least 40 riders back to being able to ride again after having chronic elbow pain, myself included.

If you don’t have elbow issues yourself, but know a rider who does, please tag or DM them this post.

You need a broomstick, closet rod, or PVC pipe. I use one that’s 5 ft long (1.5 meters).

This one is tricky to describe, so I suggest trying to follow along with the video. Basically, you fully internally rotate one side, then push the stick out to the side to get a stretch. One key – keep your shoulder blade pulled back and do not let it roll forward. Once in the stretch, you can hold for 30 seconds, or do small, pulsing reps in & out of the stretch as shown. (I prefer this)

You may feel this anywhere along the chain of muscles from your neck to your fingertips. Repeat on the other side.

For the 2 hand version, grab the stick behind your back with your palms facing forward. Keeping your arms straight, pull it over your head, then keep your shoulders back as you bring the stick down to your waist. Hold for 30 seconds.

Today’s challenge is to try this out and do 3 sets of each – 10 mini-reps per side done slowly, taking 30-60 sec, then 30 sec of the 2 hand version per set.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 19

4 Ankle Strength Walks

This is a series you can use to strengthen your ankle/calf from multiple angles. This could help prevent ankle sprains, or at least make them less severe. It also helps build the stability & strength of the whole lower leg.

These work best done with your shoes off. There are 4 positions:

1) Blade of Foot Walk – tilt your foot to the outside edges and walk. These are more effective if done with a narrow stance, like pretending you are on a tightrope.

2) Inside Walk – with a wider stance, stand on just the inside edge of your foot and walk. This one feels the most awkward, and you’ll look pretty funny doing it.

3) Heel Walk – walk on just your heels, with your toes lifted as high as possible. I often walk backward while doing these, as it activates the shin muscles even more.

4) Ball of Foot Walk – walk as high up on the ball of your foot as you can! You’ll look like you have invisible high heels on…  this one is like a walking calf raise.

Take 50 little steps in each walk (25/side), doing all 4 walks straight through without resting. Rest as needed, then repeat once more for today’s challenge. You can simply pace around if in a small area, or if you have a lot of space, you can cover a certain distance with each walk.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 20

Wall Peels

This unassuming drill is often very challenging at first. Due to a number of factors, our low back is often stuck in an extended position (“arched”) and we’ve lost the ability to move and control this portion of the back.

This will limit your movement overall, not just in your back but also your hips & legs. It also means a greater chance of having back problems, either now or in the future.

Stand with your back flat against a wall. You’ll need to have your feet out in front some, enough that you can have your low back firmly on the wall when you start. From here, you’ll start “peeling” one vertebrae at a time off the wall, starting at the top. 

This is usually pretty easy to do with the upper back, but it gets difficult at the bottom. What you don’t want to do is to have a big section of your back separate from the wall all at once. Go very slowly and focus on finding the muscles to curl your back. You’ll need to tuck your tailbone under, as if trying to point it forward through your legs and there’s some lower abdominal muscles that you’ll need to contract also.

Once you get to where the very top of your butt is all that’s left on the wall, you then want to slowly reverse, curling one segment at a time back onto the wall. Like before, you don’t want a “chunk” of several segments to all touch at the same time. Go slow & concentrate!

I also show a second option where you can hug something like a medicine ball to help you with the idea of curling your low back. Move it down to your waist as you reach the bottom.

Today’s challenge is to do 10 reps of this. You may want to rest a bit between each rep. Go for quality over speed! How does this go for you?

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 21

Elevated Pigeon Stretch

Fix those tight hips! Getting more range of motion here will make your hips and knees feel better, plus give you more mobility on the bike & off.

Find a surface that’s about table height. Set your leg up on it as shown, with your thigh pointing straight forward (not out to the side) and your knee is at 90 degrees so that your lower leg is parallel to your waist.

If your knee is up in the air once you are in this position, place an object underneath it to give it some support. From here, you bend forward at the hips into the stretch.

Today’s challenge is to hold the stretch for 3 minutes on each side. Start with a very mild stretch, and slowly move into a greater stretch over the 3 minutes. Don’t start at such an intense stretch that you need to back out before the 3 min is up!

Work on relaxed breathing, with your exhale being longer than your inhale. Sink in a little deeper to the stretch during your exhales.

A good standard on this stretch is to have your knee flat and be able to touch your forehead to your foot. 

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 22

Single Leg Calf Raise

Lower leg strength is very important for riders, both for injury reduction and for better performance while riding. Tight calf muscles are also very common and are an often overlooked cause of low back pain.

This exercise is set up to tackle both at once. Find some sort of step or stair you can stand on, while having a wall or something to balance with. Be sure your heel won’t be able touch the floor.

Set up by tucking your tailbone a bit, then keep this tucked position through the exercise. Stand on one leg, hooking the free leg over the back of the working leg.

Lower into a full stretch and pause there for one second, contracting your shin muscles to pull into a deeper stretch. Then, press up as tall as possible and hold here for one second. Repeat for reps at this cadence, then do the other side.

A good metric is to be able to do a set of 20 of these per leg, without using the hands for assistance (other than balance) or losing the hip tuck. 

Today’s challenge is to get 30 reps done per leg, switching legs and resting as needed for good quality movement and full range of motion on each rep. Stop & rest before you fail a rep or do one with less range of motion.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 23

Tuck & L-Hang

Building on the hanging variations we’ve done so far, here is another challenge. This one brings hip flexor and abdominal strength into the mix.

Hang from your bar with a double overhand grip, wrapping your thumbs around the bar. Start by letting your shoulders stretch fully into the passive hang (from day 9). 

There are 3 levels of today’s exercise. Start with the version you can do with good quality! Today’s challenge is to do 4 sets of 15 seconds of whichever version you can do, following the performance points below.

1) Tuck Hang – bring your knees up to parallel and hold there. This is where most will need to start. Keep your knees up and do not cross your legs.

2) Half L-Hang – start with a tuck hang, then extend one leg. The key is to not let the straight leg drop below the tucked one. You can either do the whole 15 sec with one leg straight, then on the next set do the other (2 sets/leg) OR you can switch legs at the halfway point on each hang.

3) L-Hang – If you can do the half L, then we move to the full L Hang. Tuck up, then extend and lock both legs. Don’t let them fall below parallel, if they do, go back to the half L and build strength there.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 24

Tabletop Bridge

Shoulder extension is bringing your arms behind your body, and it tends to be a range of motion that most people lose because it’s rarely ever trained. I’ve noticed that this is especially true for riders of all types of cycling disciplines, not just BMX or Flat. This is likely due to how much time we spend with our hands forwards on the bars.

Missing this range of motion can lead to shoulder pain or issues when you need to grab a certain way. If you do any tricks where you pass the bike behind your back, this is a critical range to regain to have better control.

The Tabletop Bridge is one simple exercise you can use to get this range back, while strengthening your glutes and hamstrings at the same time. Set up as shown. You can face your hands either forwards or backwards – you’ll hit slightly different muscles. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then contract your glutes and press up. Keep your arms straight and hold. 

Ideally, you can make a straight line like a table from your shoulders through your hips & knees. You can see this is something I am still working on, as there’s a little sag around my shoulders & ribcage. This used to be way worse!

Today’s challenge is to accumulate 2 minutes in this position in as few sets as possible. 

If anyone finds this easy, the next level (not shown) would be to do the same thing but with one leg off of the ground and extended forward. Switch halfway.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 25

Forefoot Hops

Got hops? 

In addition to muscular strength & stability, another important quality of a healthy lower leg and foot is the ability to be elastic. Our tendons and connective tissues are meant to function like rubber bands, absorbing and returning force like a spring. You could see how having strong, elastic tissues could be useful during crashes or bails!

If you look at many mainstream sports like soccer, basketball, etc, you’ll see this elastic ability on display – it’s a fundamental part of being athletic. 

Most people, if they are not training for or playing a sport like this, lose this ability over time because it’s not commonly trained. Riding doesn’t develop it, as your feet aren’t able work in this way when you stand on a pedal or peg. 

Forefoot Hops are a very simple way to get this ability back and have healthier feet & legs in the process. Tuck your hips under as shown at the start, which puts your spine in a better position to work from. Then, simply hop primarily from your ankles, keeping your knees mostly straight. Stay loose & relaxed! If you feel any discomfort in your low back, you have probably lost the hip tuck position. Re-set it and try again.

Today’s challenge is to accumulate 3 minutes of hopping, stopping if needed. Being able to do 3 minutes straight without feeling a huge burn in the muscles is a good goal to build toward, but if you haven’t been doing this sort of exercise, build towards it slowly, resting as needed today!

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 26

Cat/Camel

Get your back moving better!

This is a staple movement that we use in our morning mobility routines and on recovery days. It’s also a great assessment to see where your back is able to move and where it’s not.

Ideally, you’d to see a symmetrical curve in the spine, both in flexion (where your back is rounded, like an angry cat) and through extension (where it’s sagging like a camel). You can see that in flexion my back is symmetrical, but on extension I still have some work to do, as the upper portion stays mostly flat.

A spine that can bend properly is able to transmit forces effectively. If you have flat spots in your spine, the segments that are able to bend are carrying more of the burden than they should, and can eventually end up being trouble spots.

Today’s challenge is to do 3 sets of 10 reps of this. Do the first 2 reps of each set very slowly, slower than I show here, and then the next 8 at a little quicker cadence. When rounding, tuck your hips under, exhale all of your air out, and imagine you are trying to lift your lower back region towards the sky. When you sag, try to imagine bringing your chest thru your arms and squeeze the floor between your hands and knees.

Film yourself from the side to see what your back curves look like.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 27

Wall Springs

Build the natural elasticity in your arms for better hand, wrist, and elbow health!

Two days back on day 25, I talked about training the elastic qualities of the foot & lower leg. The same goes for the hand & arms, but it’s even way more overlooked in the arms!

As riders, we are always gripping something – usually the bars, but maybe a peg or the seat. There’s no hand supporting skills at all, so this ability is lost with time – unless you happen to also be into martial arts, gymnastics/B-boy, etc.

This is another of the factors that lead to elbow pain for riders.

This simple exercise can train the connective tissues to have the springiness they are designed to have. Set up near a wall, then, with mostly straight arms, you will smoothly absorb the very light impact, bouncing back. Notice how the fingers contact first, then roll down to the palm so that the force is smoothly absorbed. The tendons stretch like rubber bands, then spring back. 

NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A PUSHUP! Your arms should be just slightly bent and should not be used to push back. I show a couple of bad reps using my elbows in the middle of the video. It should feel light & springy and nothing like doing a pushup.

Once you can do it, we can also do it one arm at a time. Same rules apply here. 

Today’s challenge is to do 3 x 1 minute of the Wall Spring, resting no more that 1 minute between sets. Feel the fire!

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 28

Patrick Step-Downs

Strengthen the muscles around your knee for greater durability!

This simple exercise can go a long way towards making your knees feel better if it’s done consistently. It strengthens the knee in a pattern more like how it’s used when riding than some common exercises.

You just need a low step for this one. 2-4” tall is a good starting point. A low curb or step works great, or a block of wood. 

Stand on one leg, tuck your hip under just a bit and feel your butt muscle engage on the leg you are standing on. Then, keeping your torso vertical, reach to tap the floor with just the heel of your free leg. Your knee will come forward on each rep, and you should pretty quickly feel the teardrop shaped quad muscle by your knee working. Make sure you stand back up tall between each rep.

Make sure you only work in a pain-free range of motion! If the movement causes joint discomfort, reduce the height of the step – possibly even doing them flat on the floor – until you find a height you can do without pain. NOTE: the pain I’m talking about here is something not feeling right in the joint, NOT the discomfort or “pain” of the burn from the muscles working. We actually want that feeling!

Today’s challenge is to do 5 sets of 15 reps per leg. Rest as needed between sets.

Over time, work to 5 x 20 reps, then increase the height of the step and start over. Working up to 6” is good. After that, the next step is to hold weights and build up again.

If you had pain and started low, over time you may be able to begin increasing the height without pain. I had to start very low on these due to pain myself, but in time was able to do 15 reps/leg using a 175 lb barbell off a 6” step. Patience & consistency is key!

In the Ride Unlimited program, I work with riders to make adjustments like these and keep making progress.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 29

Side Plank Hip Dips

A difficult core exercise that works your whole body AND builds flexibility!

I love exercises that give you a big bang-for-your-buck, and this is one of them. With this one you get core flexibility & strength, shoulder strength & stability, and even some hip strength. 

It hits the side bending pattern hard, and this is a movement that few people train well. It’s important to be strong and flexible in the side bending pattern if you want good mobility & strength!

Set up with your elbow on a bench or chair that won’t move on you. From here, get into a basic side plank position, with your top foot just in front of the bottom foot. Now, dip your hip towards the floor, and as you do, your support shoulder will elevate towards your ear, allowing a greater side stretch. Pause briefly then press back up to the start. Move with control and try to increase the range of motion as you go. 

Make sure you are keeping your body in a straight line from shoulder thru hips to feet, as a common error is to start bending at the hips to push the butt back. Another error is to turn your chest down towards the floor.

Note any side-to-side differences.

Today’s challenge is to do 3 sets of 5 reps per side. I start most people here, because this is such a weak & underdeveloped area for most. It doesn’t take much work to get a powerful effect! Over time, getting to 3-5 x 10/side and tapping your hip to the floor on each rep is a good goal.

APRIL MOVEMENT CHALLENGE DAY 30

Slump to Front Scale

Build hip flexor strength to unlock those tight hips & move freely!

Here’s a two-part exercise today to round out the challenge. Weakness in the hip flexor muscles is one of the reasons we tend to have tight hips. Very few common gym movements train this, but the opposing motion gets trained constantly. Glaring imbalances like this almost always cause problems.

For riders, having the strength to lift your leg up higher can help make many tricks easier.

First, set up with your front leg straight & the back leg bent. Bend forward, exhaling and rounding your back down over the front leg. Push back up by contracting your glutes & hamstrings & pushing into the floor through the inside front part of your foot. (right behind your big toe)

You’ll do 5 reps like this, then stand on your opposite leg, tuck your hips and feel your glute engage for stability. Then, lift your knee, stabilize, then extend and lock out your leg. Keep it at a height where you can get the leg to lock out straight! Hold for 10 seconds.

Rest as needed, then repeat the sequence on the other leg.

Today’s challenge is to do 3 sets on each leg, as described above.