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The Crow Stance for Mountain Biking

Improve Wrist Mobility and Forearm Strength

Words by James Wilson.
July 16th, 2014

James Wilson is well known in the mountain bike world for training athletes at the World Cup and Olympic level, but he’s also got some great tips for the everyday rider. This time we’re back to a bodyweight exercise that increases strength and flexibility on the bike…


Let’s face it – our wrists take a beating on the trail. From the pounding they take simply holding onto the handlebars to the countless injuries they incur from falls, for a lot of riders their wrists have been through a lot of wear and tear.

And with that wear and tear comes a loss of wrist mobility. Whether it is from an acute injury where the wrist never went back to normal or simply “stiffness”, this loss of mobility isn’t usually noticeable on the bike but becomes apparent off of it.

For example, I’ve trained a lot of riders who couldn’t bend their wrists enough to comfortably do push ups. This lack of wrist mobility won’t show up much on the bike since your wrists aren’t pushed into that position but it can cause problems as it indicates a loss of normal range of motion you’ll need in daily life.

Plus, the better your wrist mobility the more extreme position your wrist can be put into before something pops or tears, saving you from a potential wrist injury the next time you crash.

Since a lot of riders need to work on their wrist mobility I like to use an exercise called the Crow Stand. Borrowed from yoga, it is a great way to improve your wrist mobility while also building forearm and core strength.

In this video I show you how to do the Crow Stand, plus how you can ease into it if you have really bad wrist mobility. I’ve had several clients who swore they’d never be able to get their wrist mobility to improve who are now able to do push ups and handstand push ups with no discomfort and it all started with this basic exercise.

I’d recommend doing 2-3 sets of 5 reps, rocking forward and holding the position for a second each rep. When you can do that easily then start to hold the position for time, building up to 60 seconds. Once you can hold the Crow Stand for 60 seconds your wrist mobility and forearm strength will be much improved.

Until next time…
Ride Strong,
James Wilson


MTB Strength Training Systems is the world leader in integrated performance training programs for the unique demands of mountain biking. As the strength and conditioning coach for World Cup Teams and 3 National Championships, his programs have been proven at the highest levels. James has helped thousands of riders just like you improve their speed, endurance and skills on the trail. Visit bikejames.com to find more free training tips and resources to help you ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail.