As mountain and road bikers, we do many things very well. We find excuses why we have to ride this weekend, we find justifications for why that new high end part will improve our skills and we even use riding as an excuse to eat more food.
But…one of the things I have found that bikers typically do not do enough of is stretching and core workouts (I am really guilty of this one). Cycling in general does a great job of working out the lower half of our bodies and keeping our hearts in great shape. It generally does nothing to improve your core strength or overall muscle health in regards to flexibility. These are secondary operations of your body while you are on the bike, so while they are essential to faster, safer riding, they are not worked out appropriately to actually see improvement over time.
James from The Ultimate MTB Workout (a great program if you are looking to get stronger on the bike), put together this video that outlines stretches you should be doing every week to compliment your riding. These stretches will keep your muscles healthy, but it also targets the muscles we use the most in our riding so you will actually see gains on the trail or road when you do these regularly.
What do you need to get started? A simple, cheap foam roller and you are set. I have put these into my regular routine due to some back and hip flexor pain I have been experiencing lately and it helps.