If you ride long enough – or just live life long enough really – you are going to start running into some joint stress issues. Whether it is from an injury, overuse or just a hard ride we all end up with sore, tight joints from time to time. And if left unchecked they can go from hurting “from time to time” to hurting “all of the time”, making it important that you have some good ways to address these stress and tension issues so you can keep your joints healthy and happy.
Having healthy joints comes down to a balancing act between the tension levels and length of the muscles around the joint. If one or more of them has too much tension or too little length then things get out of synch. It also compresses the joint space, reducing the amount of room the joint has to move without bones and other structures banging into each other.
Unfortunately, though, most mountain bikers know of far more ways to add stress to their joints than how to decrease it. Riding, cardio training, strength training and everyday life all contribute to joint stress and while a lot of riders know about foam rolling, stretching and mobility drills, there is still one tool that can really help that few know about.
Known as Banded Traction, this method can improve the joint’s range of motion and increase the joint space while also working on the strength and stability of the joint as well. It is something I first got introduced to through an article on T-Nation almost 10 years ago and while I’ve seen it pop up in articles and videos here and there, it remains an under-the-radar technique.
In this video I show you some of the basic Banded Traction exercises to get you started. In it I show you how to target different areas of the body and share some tips to to get the most out of it.
I’ve used Banded Traction myself with great success and with clients I’ve trained at my facility. The only reason I don’t talk about it more is because, as you can see in the video, it does require that you have access to some “strength bands”, which look like giant rubber bands and are usually used for assisted pull ups and resistance to strength training exercises. They are a bit of a specialized product but if you have access to them and are willing to invest getting some (they aren’t expensive) then adding some Banded Traction to your routine can really help keep you moving well and pain free.
Until next time…