Mountain biking is a sport that involves an incredible amount of skill, and concentration. And much like a sport like football. It is only recently that how training an athletes can have a positive impact on their performance was thought about.
In today's blog post I will cover the benefits that come with conditioning your body, as well as giving you three accessible exercises that will improve your riding experience, lets get started!
Go through any forum and you will no doubt see questions regarding fitness, back pain (or other pains) and riding technique. Almost always these questions will be met with either adjust something on your bike, or ride more. With expert advice often being disregarded as silly.
People claim that buying a gym plan means less time on the bike, not true. I can guarantee you that for the people who say this, it's their sofa that takes away their riding time and are usually the slowest people up the hill (sorry, not sorry).
Taking part in a professionally designed training plan will take into account how much you enjoy riding, while also giving you the opportunity to dedicate your time away from riding towards improve the sport you love.
Professional plans will include anything from the wattbike, to running, climbing, the gym and swimming if this is what you enjoy. Because the key to any plan, is enjoyment.
Training in a specific way will increase your bodies core strength and stability, meaning better movement on the bike.
It will increase your leg strength, making your legs less prone to burning out on the climbs and it will also strengthen up any weak areas, lessening the amount of pain you feel on the bike (lower back).
S&C is a fantastic addition to your life, the main issue is that people don't necessarily understand how to add it into your life (which is fine, my van is an amazing addition to my life but I have no clue when it comes to servicing it, so I give the job to someone who does).
The same approach should be taken with your body. So, after covering the why. Let's look into the how, today I want to give you three exercises that you can do anywhere, and will easily get you off to a good start with regards to improving your bodies comfort and performance on your bike.
When starting out on your S&C journey. Your main priority should be to think about the three key areas where mountain biking works your body. These are:
- The core.
- The anterior (front) of your torso (chest/shoulders mainly).
- The legs.
Close your eyes for a minute and think of each of these areas, then think about how they are effected when you are on your bike. Make a note of scenarios that have occurred where you have felt a weakness, or a strength in this area.
Now, let's go over three dead simple exercises you can do to improve these areas.
1: The core:
Pictured above, the plank is a great exercise to develop basic core strength. Start by using your hands, and look out for your shoulder's dropping, hips dipping in or to one side. Correct this when it happens and then the second time it does rest for 45-60s. I don't place a time on the core workouts as quality is always better than quantity with these.
For example: If I set a 60s timer and my athlete can only hold a strong position for 20 of those seconds, I am just enforcing poor form, which will develop a weakness further.
Once you have progressed at this, place your elbows on the floor, or take a limb off of the floor and follow the same method of progress.
2: The upper body:
Think about a long, technical decent where your bikes suspension is constantly firing back at you. The amount of work your chest and shoulders are doing here is crazy. And that's one of the reasons why you start to feel tired, fall forwards and develop wrist pain.
"Never underestimate the press up". It's an exercise that has been around for years because it works.
Start on your knees, elbows bar grip apart and bend the elbows, using the chest/shoulders to raise yourself back up.
Once you have developed, go onto your feet. Then slow the movement down, add weight to your back, hold it in the lower position.
There are a tonne of variations on the press up that will keep you developing!
3: The legs:
It's pretty obvious as to why you need strong legs on the bike. Stamina on the climbs, and descents as well as the strength to pedal for miles. One of the most simple exercises for developing leg strength and a resilience to the burning sensation is the wall sit. I am sure you will have seen this, sit with your back against a wall, as if you were sat on a chair.
Head up, shoulders and lower back against the wall and hold it.
Again, follow the same principle as the plank where X amount of good is better than 60s of bad.
Look for the knees shaking, sliding down the wall and standing up too high (or too often) as signs to rest. Once you have developed at this either hold it longer, or go single leg. You could even remove the wall.
And there you go, three super simple exercises that you can do at home that are guaranteed to improve your experience on the bike. Either by making you more comfortable, or by improving how your body performs. Or both.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, and for more information about how you can improve your riding experience. Click the buttons below: