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 The techniques, ideas, and suggestions in this document are not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice! Consult your physician or health care professional before performing any new exercise or exercise technique, particularly if you are pregnant or nursing, elderly, or have any chronic or recurring conditions. Any application of the techniques, ideas, and suggestions in this document is at the reader's sole discretion and risk. The author and publisher of this document and their employers make no warranty of any kind in regard to the content of this document, including, but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. The author and publisher of this document and their employers are not liable or responsible to any person or entity for any errors contained in this document, or for any special, incidental, or consequential damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this document.

Correct stretching increases flexibility, flexibility increases power. 

The aim of pre-event training and stretching is to enable the body to perform the task that is being asked of it to it's best ability and without damaging itself.

So, why do you need power in your sport?  After all your're just laying/sitting down using balance aren't you?

No, your're not, any movement needs energy/fuel to power the muscle to make the movement; it is true a powerful rider may not have too many advantages over a less powerful one, but what was that first bit again?

"to enable the body to perform the task that is being asked of it to it's best ability and without damaging itself"

Damage; think of an elastic band, once warm and flexible you can actually stretch it much further than a cold one before it breaks, like muscle fibres.

A Warm muscle fiber becomes more flexible than a cold one so in the event of unexpected movement, a crash to you and me, the fibers "give" more before being damaged.

When we put a stretch plan into action we take our muscle fibers and make them more flexible and then when we "warm up" before riding we increase that flexibility again, not only increasing our power but also protecting our bodies against damage.

So why stretch off after excercise?  Muscles need fuel to make them work; when we stretch off after exertion we help the body remove the spent fuel from the muscle.  If the spent fuel stays there it takes up room hindering new fuel and nutrients, needed to power and repair the muscle, from entering resulting in aching and fatigued muscles

Should you need any more incentive to stretch you may have to wait until you suffer an injury that could have been avoided by taking very little time out of your day



Begin by standing with feet hip width apart and raise your arms either side of your body to form a "Y" shape.

While in the Y push your hands as far away from your shoulders as is possible to feel the stretch in the shoulder girdle.

Count to 5

As we move in to the next letter keep this tension with your upper arms continually stretching the shoulders; now bring the forearms towards each other to form an open "O"


Count to 5


From here still keeping the tension through the shoulders with the upper arms move the hands closer to cross the fingers forming a small "X"

Count to 10

Return to "O" for as count of 5

Then to the "Y" with one last push away from the shoulders for a count of 5.



Shoulder Rolls

Look along one shoulder and you may see your forearm leaning forwards; without bending your back slowly bring the arm upright. This is the starting position.

Slowly rotate your arms from the shoulder backwards in medium size circles; at the point just before discomfort sets in stop and repeat forwards.

Shoulder rolls 3 times



Hip Twists

Standing in front of something around hip height (car boot is ok for most people) place a light object (a towel is ideal) to one side of you on it.

From facing the front turn your torso to the object side bending that leg and pick the object up; bring it around in front of you, both legs straight, and then to the other side bending that leg and place it down, returning to the front without it.

Repeat for around 2 minutes 



Let's think about the job the neck does for a moment, it balances our head and moves it freely in all directions; it does this by making thousands of daily movements

For those that drive, think about the thousands of tiny movements your head makes while you're in the car, the neck makes that possible.

So, how much tension do we put in the neck on a daily basis?  Considering the weight of the average human head is around 12lb or 5kg we are pretty much slamming tension onto our necks as soon as we stand up in the morning.

All fascinating and good, but now let's throw something really fantastically intelligent and at the same time completely dumb into the picture; our brain, yes our brain that calculates how much our head weighs and knows where it is at all times in order to balance it on our necks.  The brain is truly amazing and yet a bit slow, when we grow it takes around 3 weeks for the brain to realise we are taller, our arms and legs are longer and to calculate all that information.  This is why children who have a growth spurt are often clumsy, the brain hasn't calculated the fact the body has changed yet.

What's that got to do with me?  

The brain goes through it's day quite happily knowing how to balance the head when we put a helmet on it and suddenly it weighs another 500g or even 1-2kg, now all those small movements are a little harder to calculate the head gets over or under moved slightly; no great problem.  Then the head is thrown to one side, the brain reacts by sending a message to the neck to use enough force to right it only a) It's too late, the head is now heavier than the brain calculated so the head has already gone over damaging the neck. b) the brain has over compensated for the new weight and has got the neck to "snap" the head back forcing the new weight to lever the neck in the opposite direction; either way it's a traumatic result.

Wear helmets and get neck trauma or not wear helmets and get head trauma?

Wear helmets!! and here's how to protect your neck taking less than 3 minutes at the end of your daily shower.

We are going to increase the flexibility of the neck so it will be able to move in all directions further without damaging the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the area.

The Stretch

After you have had your shower slowly increase the hot water and let it flow on the front, sides and back of your neck for about 2 minutes.  (This can also be done with wheat bags or anything that will warm the neck area through, not deep heat.

Read the following carefully and do not do it until your neck has been prepared; you will damage it!!

Turn the shower off and before you get out;  Let gravity slowly take the head down to your chest and let it sit there for a slow count of 5.

Slowly bring the head back to centre and count 1,2.

Let gravity slowly take the head back so your are looking at the ceiling, don't force it back, slowly count 1,2.

Slowly bring the head back to the centre.


Let the head slowly tilt to one side so your ear moves toward your shoulder, keep the opposite shoulder down and stop just as you feel the stretch in the neck.; Slowly Count to 5 and then let the head sink down a little further and slowly count to 10.

SLOWLY bring the head back to the centre and after counting 1,2 repeat the other side.


Let the head slowly sink backwards diagonally, you will feel the stretch in the site of your throat, slowly count to 5 then let it sink back a little further and slowly count to 10. 

VERY SLOWLY bring the head back to the centre (this will feel a long way to come back) count 1,2 and repeat the other side.

To finish slowly look over one shoulder, keeping your shoulders square, as far as is comfortable and slowly count to 5 then a little further and slowly count to 10, bring the head slowly back to the centre count 1,2 and repeat the other side.

CAUTION: you may well experience quite a head rush when doing this so just wait a moment before exiting the shower, dizziness and wet tiles are not a good combination.

Doing this after every shower will increase neck flexibility, reduce neck tension and also reduce tension in the upper shoulder region.

the bottom line:  Less injuries to the neck area when we crash/fall due to helmet weight.


The Luge Back 

Luge disciplines rely heavily on the back as it is making not only larger stress filled movements but small corrective ones too.  That's without the spasms and contractions the brain puts through it in a protective, unhelpful attempt to look after you.

Here are two stretches that will give you greater flexibility and so better control along with added protection.  The second also helps to realign the pelvic girdle, in turn improving the performance of the hip flexors and increasing the vertebrae space in the lower spine, important for your discipline (for those that are unaware or have never thought about this next time you're out try and feel what your lower back is doing).

Stretch One

Laying on the back with knees bent and feet flat to the floor close to the buttocks, raise the shoulders just off of the floor, keeping the head in line with them and slowly bend the top of the body to one side trying to touch the ankle with the hand and slowly count to 10, slowly return to the centre count 1,2 and repeat for the opposite side.  Return to the centre and relax, count 1,2 then repeat 3 times.

Stretch Two

Laying on the back with knees bent and feel flat to the floor and close to the buttocks, hands resting on top of the hips, let one leg slide down so it is laying flat.  Just with your body weight push the buttock of the flat leg into the floor at the same time let your raised knee move forward towards your foot; keeping the foot still; this action should raise the hip, count to 3 and rest.  It is important not to try and assist the hip as it rises; the only thing that should make the hip raise is the movement of the knee forward.  Repeat this 3 times then bring the other leg up to meet the raised one (if both legs are laid flat you have undone what you have started and have to start again).  Let the first leg slide down flat and repeat as before 3 times.  This is to be done for 3 sets at the end of which bring both legs up to the starting position and slowly let them roll to one side, just as you are nearly on your side you can lay them strait and roll back onto your back or continue and get up

This can not be done too much, try it before bed (it can be done in bed) and again around lunchtime.  If it is done before you ride you may well find and instant benefit if you have lower back tension anyway.



You can do this stretch anywhere you are sitting down (not driving) simply ensure your leg is clear from the floor then with your foot trace the alphabet in lower case just above the ground. 

By the time you have got to z you will have stretched out your lower calf and most of the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle.

In order to strengthen the ankle without doing very much; stand on one leg and close your eyes (not near anything breakable).



A bit of flexibility can be gained in much the same way as the ankles; holding the arm by the side trace the alphabet with the relazed hand in lower case.

Both these stretches can not be done too much, in the perfect, morning, noon and night, but as we don't live in the perfect world once a day is better than not at all.