A mountain bike is a bicycle specifically designed for off-road cycling. This type of cycling allows you to attack trails on hilly and rough terrain in a variety of environments, yielding a muscle-strengthening, conditioning aerobic workout. Practice your speed and endurance training on- and off-road with a variety of mountain bike exercises.
Bicycling strengthens your quadriceps, glutes and calves at the same time. As an aerobic exercise, bicycling can help lower blood pressure and levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol while helping you maintain a healthy weight by keeping excess pounds at bay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that adults perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise improves your endurance so you can handle exercising for longer periods. If you are new to mountain biking, start cycling at a steady speed for 30 minutes most days of the week. As your endurance builds, cycle for longer periods each session. Increase your cycling time by five minutes per session every week until you are cycling an hour per day five days a week. As your physical progression builds, increase your base cycling speed until you can maintain a steady moderate pace.
Muscle Conditioning and Strengthening
Riding on hilly terrain gives you the opportunity to strengthen your leg muscles. Use a heart rate monitor to try to get your heart into the fat-burning zone — about 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, which you can calculate by subtracting your age from 220. Try not to allow the speed you build up in descending one hill carry over when you start to climb the next hill. Start slowly at the bottom of the hill and pump your legs hard to cycle up the hill as quickly as you can. To make this even more difficult for maximum strengthening and conditioning, ride up the hill in a high gear.
Practice building your speed on a mountain bike by using interval training. Begin cycling at a consistent, moderate speed. After several minutes, break into a sprint with the bike, continuing for approximately 30 seconds. After half a minute of cycling at full speed, slowly reduce your speed to the original moderate speed and hold the slower speed for three minutes, or until you have recuperated from the sprint. Continue alternating this way for 30 to 60 minutes.