How to Help Combat the Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries

How to Help Combat the Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries

“During the past three years, researchers from Napier University have been conducting a massive research project with Enduro World Series participants collecting information about mountain bike injuries, and more importantly how to prevent them. “The survey was carried out by Sports Scientist Dr Debbie Palmer of Edinburgh Napier University and covers the full breadth of participation, from our recreational rider base right through to the upper echelons of elite athletes.”

The report comprises of two separate pieces of research. The first questioned 2,000 EWS-racing athletes, from 46 countries, across 10 EWS races, recording how, when, and where they were injured. Highlights include the most frequently occurring injuries and those injuries that resulted in the most days spent off the bike recovering.

The findings are rather fascinating which low concussion rates and more injuries during the 2016 XC mountain bike race in RIO in 2016 than in the Enduro World Series events!

enduro world series report findingsRead the full report here.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that shoulder and clavicular injuries are the most common. These injuries typically involve a long recovery – 25 days on average.

So, how can enduro rider’s improve their strength around their shoulders to decrease this injury risk.


(Picture thanks to EWS report)

What makes up your shoulder?

The shoulder is an extremely complex joint made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm) as well as the associated muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The humerus loosely attaches to the scapula in a ball and socket joint that allows the arm to rotate in a circular manner or to hinge up and away from the body. The joint must be mobile enough to do a wide range of dynamic movements (like throwing), but also stable enough to lift heavy objects and push and pull. This compromise between mobility and stability means the muscles need to be strong and stable to protect this joint.

The major muscles involved with movement of the shoulder are the four rotator cuff muscles and the deltoid. These muscles allow the upper arm to rotate in and out, move forward, out to the side, and behind the back.  Tendons are the bands of fibrous connective tissue that attach these muscles to the humerus.

Here are our top 5 shoulder stability exercises to help you combat those injuries.

  1. Rotator Cuff External Rotation with Band
    1. Palms facing up hold the band out in front of you
    2. Keep your elbows tucked in
    3. Forearms parallel to the ground
    4. Breath in, on the exhale open the band to the side
    5. Hold for the inhale
    6. Exhale bring arms back to the centre
    7. Repeat 5 times
      1. To increase strength add in pulses once the band is opened to the side

rotator cuff exercise

  1. High to Low Row
    1. Attach a resistance band to something sturdy at or above shoulder height. Be sure it is secure so it doesn’t come lose when you pull on it
    2. Get down on one knee so the knee opposite the outstretched arm is raised. Your body and lowered knee should be aligned. Rest your other hand on your raised knee
    3. Holding the band securely with your arm outstretched, pull your elbow toward your body. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down as you pull. Your body should not move or twist with your arm, engage your core muscles to stop this from happening
    4. Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10
  1. Reverse Fly
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and bend forward slightly at the waist
    2. With a light weight (bean cans of full water bottles will do) in each hand, extend your arms and raise them away from your body.
    3. Do not lock your elbow. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do so.
    4. Do not raise your arms above shoulder height
    5. Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10


4. Press Up (Bi-cep)

    1. Start standing, bend your knees and put your hands on the floor so they are under your shoulders
    2. Lift your knees off the floor so you are in a sloping position, don’t stick your bum in the air or let your hips drop (keep your knees on the floor for a modified box press up)
    3. Hands facing forward slowly lower your nose towards the floor, elbows moving outwards
    4. Engage your core, (pull your belly button towards your spine) to help protect your lower back
    5. Inhale at the bottom, exhale and push yourself back up into the sloping position

5. Press Up (tri-cep)

    1. Start standing, bend your knees and put your hands on the floor so they are under your shoulders
    2. Lift your knees off the floor so you are in a sloping position, don’t stick your bum in the air or let your hips drop (keep your knees on the floor for a modified box press up)
    3. Hands facing forward slowly lower your nose towards the floor, elbows moving towards your hips, arms grazing the side of your body
    4. Engage your core, (pull your belly button towards your spine) to help protect your lower back
    5. Inhale at the bottom, exhale and push yourself back up into the sloping position

press up



Shredding in the Surrey Hills

Shredding in the Surrey Hills

Two weeks ago before the British Summer time was swept away by a huge rain cloud we enjoyed a super weekend in the Surrey Hills. Not only was the weather tip top but the biking was pretty mega too!

Over two days our latest group of clients came on leaps and bounds as the honed their trail skills and crafted their flow on some of Surrey’s best known mountain bike trails like Barry Knows Best, Yogurt Pots and Summer Lightning to name but a few!

Here are some action shots from the weekend. If it looks like good fun and you would like to join our next adventure check out our mountain bike weekend page here.

Feedback from Candy:

What a great weekend thank you Hannah for specially helping me. I do feel much more confident now!!! And thanks to Paul who helped to set up my bike and guiding me. What a lovely bunch of people on the course.Thanks for your help and encouragement, guys, when I was flagging! The food was lovely too.Fantastic way to spend a weekend in glorious countryside! 🚴‍♀️

How Could Mountain Biking Help Your Mental Health?

How Could Mountain Biking Help Your Mental Health?

We all know that modern life can be stressful. The feeling of always being connected and the amount of time we spend looking at screens each day doesn’t do our mental health much good.

But there are ways to improve our lives, and we think that mountain biking is a great place to start. As a video on Single Tracks recently pointed out, hitting the trails can be great for stress relief.

First up, it’s a great way to get out into nature and just enjoy the beauty of the world around us. But more than that it is a brilliant way to exercise. Climbing trails on a mountain bike is intense exercise, which causes your body to release endorphins. These are known to relieve stress.

Every climb is followed by a descent, which, as the video notes, provides an instant reward and means your body releases adrenaline. This gives you the incentive to make the next climb and continue with your mountain biking adventure.

Finally, the act of mountain biking requires a great deal of concentration, which helps you shut out all the worries and stresses that fill your mind during everyday life.

The Mental Health Foundation also advocates exercise to help improve our mental health. The organisation points out that there are lots of ways to be active beyond going to the gym or taking a jog.

But the key to becoming more active is to find something that you love doing, so that you make time for it and value its “positive benefits”.

If you want to try mountain biking but haven’t got much experience, take a beginner’s mountain bike course to get you off to a flying start.

Could Scotland Be The Next Top Spot For Mountain Biking?

Could Scotland Be The Next Top Spot For Mountain Biking?

We’re always on the lookout for new spots where we can put our mountain bikes through their paces and it seems that Scotland could be the next place to head to if you’re keen to hit some tracks amid stunning scenery.

Given that Scotland is one of the few parts of the UK with proper mountains, it would make sense for the sport to gain more traction here, and it seems the Scottish government is keen to support that.

It has just provided a grant of £185,000 to help develop the sport in the country, after already investing £1 million in the sport alongside Forestry and Land Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s tourism minister, unveiled the additional funding ahead of a new publication outlining a new national mountain biking strategy.

“By using our natural terrain and the expertise of organisations such as the Mountain Bike Consortium, we can further develop mountain biking opportunities to grow the sector and attract even more visitors,” she stated.

If exploring Scotland’s mountain bike trails sounds like your kind of break, get some mtb coaching before you head off to make sure you’re prepared for what’s on offer.

Looking for some inspiration on where to go mountain biking north of the border? Take some inspiration from Red Bull. The organisation that’s known for its extreme sports, as well as its energy drinks, picked out some of the top spots for mtb fun.

Among them are the Tweed Valley, Fort William and Dunkeld. Tweed Valley was picked as the number one place to visit because it’s the “home of the original man-made trails in Scotland”.

Five reasons to hire a mountain bike guide

Five reasons to hire a mountain bike guide

Do you really need to hire a mountain bike guide?

The answer is probably not, whether you use your trusty GPS or map you will find your way round some beautiful trails in the UK. BUT, you knew there was going to be a ‘but’ right?!?

We take the hassle out of your experience so you can focus on the pedalling.

Here’s why:

  1. We find the ‘harder to find’ places.

If you’re looking for the sweetest single track, the best lunch spot with a view, most thrilling descent or climb, we can take you there. Our experienced team know the UK riding spots, like the back of their hands and will take you on an adventure down undiscovered trails, brand new lines and to the best views.

  1. We take you off-grid.

Our big day rides are full of adventure and about pushing your limits. Safely in the knowledge that our experienced guides will keep you out of trouble and riding all day.

mountain biking wales

  1. Time is precious.

Life is super busy, we reckon if you had to opt between riding your bike and planning a ride you would pick option one! So let us do the planning and organising so you can focus on the fun factor.

  1. We take out the ‘unknown’.

If the weather closes in and you need to dive into a pub which won’t mind soggy bodies, we know where one is. Legs turned to spaghetti? We know a local café serving the best hot chocolate and tasty cakes. Want to push hard all day? We will push you as far as you want to go, as long as you’re having fun we will ride all day long.

mountain biking spain

  1. No need to pack the kitchen sink.

Every guide on our trips carries an extensive pack of bike and human first aid essentials. No need for you to carry much more than water, a snack, coat and inner tube. Ride light and save your energy for the miles ahead.

Our weekend trips are now ready for booking to North Wales, South Wales, Surrey Hills and The South Downs.

Surrey Hills Mountain Bike Weekend

Surrey Hills Mountain Bike Weekend

Anyone can be a passenger on a bike. Like with any sport to become more able it’s a good idea to get professional coaching. Last weekend we headed to the Surrey Hills for a weekend on some of Southern England’s finest Singletrack.

The weekend began with coaching from Leith Hill, using the famous Summer Lightning trail. The aim of the day, increase your ability to flow effortlessly down the trail with minimal excursion. How did we achieve this?

mountain bike coaching surrey hills

By getting into the right position and being able to move around the bike, keeping movements free and not jerking the bike around, which happens with bad technique and a lack of confidence, because you tend to be more ridged. We also mastered manuals ready to get over those tricky trail obstacles and pop off drops.

Lunch was provided by local chef Joanne Sorg, who served up a delicious packed lunches, no sandwiches in sight! Of course there was also enough cake to keep even the hungriest of riders satisfied.

After lunch it was time to focus on strengthening and stretching those muscles. Lying under the swaying trees, the group worked on their core stability during Pilates specific for cyclists. Pilates focuses on the ‘inner core’ of our bodies, developing strength from the innermost structures and works outwards. Rather than working our bodies through muscle isolation, Pilates focuses on posture, strength, mobility and flexibility from head to toe. Moving the body in complete flowing movements, not isolated parts. Read more about the benefits of Pilates for cyclists here.

mountain bike coaching surrey hills

Sarah who took part said

One of the best biking weekends I’ve attended! Hannah is a great coach and her confidence inspiring style resulted in great changes in my riding over the course of the weekend. The small group dynamic makes it really easy to learn and at no point did I feel out of my depth, though I was most certainly encouraged to push my boundaries in a good way. Highly recommended! Plus the food is fantastic!

Bright and early Sunday we met with our guide Sean from Marmalade MTB at Holmbury Hill. Sean led the group on an adventure down some of the best trails and up to the best viewpoints in the Surrey Hills including Barry Knows Best, Yoghurt Pots and Telegraphs. Of course, no trip to the Surrey Hills could end without a trip to the famous Peaslake Village Stores for a cheese straw!

mountain bike coaching surrey hills

After a full days riding we headed to the pub for a pint and to share stories from the weekend and talk about where our next adventures on two wheels may take us.

Thank you to our wonderful clients for a fantastic weekend of fun, we hope to see you on the trails again soon!

If you like the look of our Surrey Hills weekend why not join us in June!