Electric Bike Commuting Blog & Colorado Life

7 Tips for Preventing Neck Pain for Mountain Bikers

  • Trail Scanning Method. “Two eyes scanning” is the first thing I teach my MTB students. Arching the back and lifting the chin will  result in over-extension of the neck muscles which can lead to stiffness in the neck. Try this instead: intentionally think “roll my shoulders back and down away from my ears…now I scan the trail in front of me!”.
  • Body-Bike Positioning. There are many geometries on a mountain bike that could be affecting your neck comfort, but I suggest starting with your bar width. If the width of your handle bars is too narrow or too wide it will be more difficult to pull your shoulders down and you will be more likely to tense the shoulder muscles.
  • Upper Body Training. Incorporate shoulder mobility and strengthening during your mountain bike season. Yes, our legs and core are the power house on trail but the instability through our shoulders will exacerbate neck pain.
  • Core Intentionality. Cultivate an image that helps you maintain core stability while on your bike – remember if you let your postural muscles relax other muscles will take over putting yourself at risk of injury! Try this: I like to imagine I have a small candle flame below my belly button – it reminds me to actively recruit my core muscles and concentrate on keeping my back in alignment.  
  • Deal With Existing Injury. If the injury has already happened you need to incorporate upper body strength, mobility, and regular neuromuscular release. Foam rolling is difficult in and around the neck joint, but pectoral release (on the font side of the body) will help relax the shoulders. I have found seeking out neuromuscular massage and trigger point dry needling  from a professional a few times a year help re-train the muscles.
  • Neck Release Routine. It is not realistic to have a massage weekly, but  I find regular static stretches are integral to my own healing and injury prevention. Daily incorporation of neck stretches help me keep my neck, spine, and posture in alignment and ready for the next ride.
  • Take a Mountain Bike Lesson. If you are dealing with an injury, having an instructor help you develop an ideal stance on your bike will help a ton! Set yourself up for success. Wild Mountain Movement can help you prevent injury with an affordable Online Mountain Bike Lesson. Happy trails!

Preventing Mountain Bike Neck Pain with Emily Moravec M. S.
Enjoy your trails more with no neck pain! What is your next ride?!
My daily neck release! Dropping one ear to the shoulder, and gently lengthening the other arm. Track the shoulder blades down the back.