Mountain biking is a full-body sport that demands aerobic strength, endurance and coordination. Optimize your mountain bike experience by doing workouts on and off your mountain bike that target your upper body, lower body and core muscle groups. These techniques address the concerns of the weekend rider but also complement a competitive rider's training program.
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A mountain bike workout does not begin with stretching. Instead, spend 15 to 20 minutes pedaling at about 90 rpm with low resistance. This raises your heart rate, increases your respiration rate and gets blood flowing to your muscles. Gradually add resistance, but do not fatigue your muscles. Take deep breaths to increase your focus. Once your joints feel lubricated, you can dismount the bicycle and stretch. Target key muscles such as the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and abs by doing ankle turns, knee lifts and calf stretches. Roll your neck and shoulders, and rotate the waist to loosen your back muscles.
Build Core Strength
Powering through a mountain bike workout demands engaging your core muscles. Core strength helps you push your legs harder and supports your weight so that you do not overstress your arms and wrists. Build abdominal strength and release pressure from your spine with a hanging knee raise. In this move, you hang from a pullup bar. Inhale and lift your knees forward until they are level with your pelvis. Hold the position for a beat before exhaling and gradually lowering your legs. After two sets of 20 repetitions, do the same move but bring your knees to your right side, lower them, and then raise them to your left side. This move strengthens your oblique muscles.
Hard starts help mountain bikers learn to start quickly in a race and also help you develop the power to pass a rider in front of you who is faltering on a steep incline. Warm up for 20 minutes at an easy pace and increase your clip for another 10 minutes. Slow the bike as you approach an incline and let it roll to a stop. Set one foot on the ground to balance the bike and then return your foot to the clip and accelerate your bike as quickly as possible. Spend about 15 seconds shifting and accelerating to get back to pace. Slow down to recover and try another hard start. Repeat this pattern 10 times.
Interval training on a mountain bike prepares your for varied terrain and those steep climbs. Pedal at a standard pace for four minutes. Then spend 30 seconds pedaling at a sprint level. Slow down to a recovery rate and then return to your standard pace. After four minutes, repeat the 30-second sprint. Vary intervals as you gain endurance. More advanced athletes can try riding at a vigorous pace for 10 minutes and interspersing it with 15-second sprints every two minutes.