All athletes take part in stretching exercises as a warm up before their chosen sport.

The idea of stretching before riding a dirt bike and racing Motocross might sound excessive because after all you sit. But handling a dirt bike demands far more than a casual sit while gently rolling the throttle. Therefore you need to get your muscles warm and flexible to take on the rigors of riding.

Unlike running-involved sports where stretching exercises focus mainly on the legs, stretching exercises for Motocross involve the whole body. And yes, a well stretched body can help prevent muscle tears and strains and even moderate injury in the event of a crash.

To find out the best exercise for Motocross we called Tommy Weeck, a northwest fast guy who held national numbers for six consecutive years while racing Supercross and Motocross in in the United States. He also competed in the MX2 class of the Motocross World Championship (MXGP) and raced for Team Puerto Rico in the Motocross of Nations (2011). He now runs RiseMX, a Motocross training school that focuses on strength conditioning and nutrition.

Weeck incorporates a holistic approach to his Motocross classes and often spends an hour or more stretching before getting on his dirt bike. It's not until he's finished stretching that he's ready to ride. Clearly, he sees stretching as a viable component to riding and racing dirt bikes so he gave us these tips to share.

Best Stretching Exercises for Dirt Bike Riding

1. Waiter's Bow

Waiter's Bow Stretch

The Waiter's Bow looks kind of funny but as you can see this stretch targets and opens up the back and outer hips, glutes, hamstrings and calf. This maneuver represents one of the more all-encompassing stretches Weeck recommends. This pose allows your hips to work as another joint in your body. Hold the Water's Bow pose for up to one minute.

2. 90-90

90-90 Stretch

The 90-90 looks like a take on a common stretch you probably learned in grade school PE. Sit up straight with your butt flat on the ground and stick one leg behind you with the knee at a 90 degree angle and the other leg out front, also at a 90 degree angle. This stretches your hips, groin and hamstring. The goal of the 90-90 stretch is to get you into a breathing pattern and help with mobility of the hip joint. Keep your shoulders parallel with your knee and ankle in front of you. Take three deep breaths, getting a deeper breath each time, and rest. Do this breathing routine three times.

3. 90 with Leg in Front

90 with Leg in Front Stretch

You probably do recognize this pose from those PE classes as most athletes incorporate this stretching exercise into their routine. With one leg faced back and the knee at a 90 degree angle and the other leg out straight, keep your back straight and reach towards your ankle with your hands without leaning forward. Keep an open airway and remain upright. Hold position for up to 10 minutes. (Note: Weeck continues to recuperate from a neck and back injury which requires him to lean forward a bit as shown in the photo.)

4. Forearm Stretch

Forearm Stretch

Get arm pump? Weeck has some stretches to help relieve and reduce arm pump and as you can see, the recommended stretch twists the arms. Get on your knees, lean forward on your hands but instead of bracing with your fingertips, turn your hands around and support your upper body on the back of your hands. This move fully stretches the muscles and fascia in your upper arms that cause the issues related to arm pump. Do the three deep breaths pattern as noted above three times.

You really can't overstretch at least in terms of quantity and when it comes to racing Motocross you want to target as many muscles as you can. Riding a dirt bike involves a lot more muscles than you might think, which probably explains why Motocross often gets coined "the most physically demanding sport."