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  1. Hi, Here goes a topic that I think is definitely worth posting about. My partner is a physical therapist, and after I had a minor knee-tendon injury during the first few days of riding, she mentioned that warming up and stretching wouldn’t be a bad idea for EUC riding, since to a great extent, it involves maintaining the same posture for extended periods of time, which can lead to muscle, tendon and ligament fatigue and stiffness, which in turn, makes one much more prone to non-impact injuries in the event of falling/jumping off the wheel, or can potentially make them worse. For example, falling off the wheel and landing on just one leg can involve a considerable impact, and muscle and tendon stiffness (due to the riding stance and lack of stretching) will make an injury (sprain, tendinitis, etc.) much more likely, or worse than it would have been if you’d warmed up and stretched to maintain flexibility. @meepmeepmayer and @Mono mentioned that they hadn't seen this topic brought up in the forum, so I had my partner walk me through the biodynamics of EUC-riding and give me a few warm-up and stretching exercises to help minimise the over-stress that certain parts of the body are subjected to when riding. Bear in mind that a great deal more muscles, tendons and ligaments are in play while riding than I’ll list here and to cover them all would involve a lengthy, multiple installment publication (longer than this one ) that I doubt anyone would be interested in reading, so for the sake of brevity and pragmatism, I asked her to narrow down the list to the soft tissues subjected to the most stress and most prone to injury. BEFORE RIDING, you should ideally warm up a little. The best and most simple exercises you can do, that pretty much cover most of the muscles you’ll be using (legs, hips, core), are: Squats: (If you’re in a hurry, 10 squats are better than nothing, but 15 is better) Marching in place / high jog: (10 with each leg should do; for a more thorough warm-up, aim for 20) As part of the warm-up, some joint movement is also beneficial. Some of the most useful exercises are: Standing hip circles: (5-10 repetitions in each direction for each leg; the broader the circles the better) Circular knee warm-up: (5-10 repetitions in each direction) Circular ankle stretching: Aside from the warm-up, some LIGHT stretching can go a long way in terms of preventing potential injuries. I’ll detail the different soft tissue “components” of the musculoskeletal system that are stressed the most/more likely to be injured, how they come into play in terms of EUC-riding, and how to stretch them. IMPORTANT: Plantar fasciae (foot arch): (aka the part that hurts like hell when you’re beginning) Involved in base stance (the more forward your foot is positioned, the more they’re stressed) and acceleration. Stretching exercises: Tibialis anterior (muscle and tendon): Used for braking and when leaning back (e.g., going downhill). Stretching: Achilles tendon: Used while in base stance and when accelerating. Stretching: Calf muscle and soleus: Used in base stance and when accelerating. Stretching: Calf: Soleus (deep calf muscle): Hamstring (posterior thigh muscles & tendons): Used while in base stance and while accelerating. Stretching: Quadriceps: Under the greatest stress when braking and leaning back, but also tense (albeit less so) when in the base stance and accelerating (to balance out the force being applied by the hamstring). Stretching: If having trouble balancing (which you shouldn’t, you’re damn EUC-riders!), you can use one arm to support yourself on a wall, rail, fence, etc.. If you don’t feel any tension on your quads in the position shown in the video, pull your leg further back, so the leg being stretched isn’t parallel to your other leg and your knee is further back (keep your back straight while you do this). I recommend holding your foot from your ankle. Doing the same exercise but pulling from the base of your toes is another way to stretch your anterior tibialis). Hip adductors (inner thigh): Used to press legs inward against the wheel and for turning. Stretching: (Sexy Legs Workout...potentially sexist/objectifying, I know...but what can I say? I looked at several different videos for the same exercise and she’s the one that explained it the best. Seriously.) Hip abductors (outer thigh): Used mainly for turning. Stretching: In short, there are tons more muscles, tendons and ligaments involved (as in everything), but these are the main and most important ones. If you’re in a hurry, the most important ones to stretch are hamstrings, calves, quads and anterior tibialis. To stretch hamstrings + calves, follow the first exercise in this video. Just lean forward to stretch your hamstrings (with your foot relaxed), and do the same thing but pulling the end of your foot towards you to stretch your calves. For quads and anterior tibialis, refer to the comment below the quadriceps stretching video. Additional tips: When falling, your reflex reaction is to use your arms to break the fall. Protective gear helps prevent injuries from the impact part of a fall, but as others have pointed out (in regen-related threads), energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transferred into another form. Meaning, in this case, that the abrasion resistance that wrist and elbow guards provide allows you to slide, thus reducing the intensity of the impact, but also transferring that force upward, towards your shoulder. This creates a high risk of shoulder injuries and dislocations (which are painful as hell), so it’s definitely worth strengthening the muscles involved in keeping the shoulder in place: mainly deltoids (rear and front), pectorals, and the latissimus dorsi. Strengthening biceps and triceps isn't a bad idea either. (All of the links above are for strengthening exercises). It's also important to point out that you should always stretch after strengthening exercises, as flexibility is just as important as strength, and not doing so will lead to muscle stiffness. And lastly, the better shape you're in, the less prone you are to injuries. And so this doesn’t turn into a multi-page soliloquy, I’d say those are pretty much the basics (glutes and abs also play an important role in balancing and forward/backward motion, for example, but are unlikely to be injured when EUC-riding or lead to unrelated injuries). All the same, if anyone thinks I missed something important (perhaps your partner, @Elzilcho), don’t hesitate to add it, nor to correct me anywhere I'm wrong or suggest alternative, easier/better exercises I know it’s a drag to think you have to do all of these every time you want to hop on your wheel, but these should actually only take 5-6' before riding and 10-15' max. post-riding. Otherwise, an abbreviated version, or stretching them at another time several times a week (after exercising; avoid intense stretching of muscles that haven’t been previously warmed up) is definitely better than nothing, and can go a long way in terms of preventing a broad range of injuries (particularly ankles and knees). In any case, I hope this is useful (it feels nice to be able to give back to the community after pestering all of you with questions since I joined the forum). Happy (and safe) riding! Sidenote: I’ve tried to be as neutral as possible and find an appropriate "male/female/elderly physical therapist" ratio for the Youtube stretching exercises, because I feel it's the right thing to do, and because I know the subject of posting content of bikini-clad women and scarcely-dressed female EUC-riders has been discussed in this forum. My apologies to those hoping for more cleavage & yoga pants
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