Isn’t riding my bike enough? Do I really need to have a strength program?
What exercises should a rider do in the gym?
Studies have shown that a program with heavier weights and lower reps will increase short and long endurance capacity.
Lift fast. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing body weight or dumbbell, machines or kettlebells, you need to lift the weight as explosively and quickly as possible. Once you can’t move fast anymore, the set is done, and you recover, rest or work a different body part until you can generate high power again. Note that lift fast doesn’t mean do the entire exercise fast, for example in a squat it means it means controlled movement with gravity, pause at the bottom of the squat, then move fast on the up movement.
Choose “big”, multi-joint exercises, for example squats, deadlifts, even Olympic lifting if you have someone who can teach you proper form.
Be safe. If you’re not used to moving heavy weights quickly, then begin with light weight workouts or body weight workouts, to master the correct form. The faster you move, the easier it can be to injure yourself, so be clever and use good form!
Here are my top 3 go to exercises that give the best bang for your buck as a mountain biker:
Banded goblet squat
Common squatting mistakes to avoid:
1. Knees collapsing inwards – addressed by using the mini band which forces you to engage your glutes and actively push your knees outwards, so they are in line with your ankles and hips.
2. Knees collapsing inwards is addressed by using the mini band which forces you to engage your glutes and actively push your knees outwards, so they are in line with your ankles and hips.
3. Torso leaning too far forwards – either the core is weak, and/or your stance is too narrow. So, try a wider stance, and actively engage the core before initiating the squat and focus on keeping the weight touching your body.
4. Stand with your feet hip to shoulder width apart, with toes pointing forwards. Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell vertically so that the weight is touching your body at the collarbone. Keeping your core tight, and back flat, bend your hips and knees to send your butt back and down as if sitting back into an imaginary chair. There is no need to squat any deeper than thighs parallel to the floor. Hold the bottom position of the squat for a count of three, actively bracing your core, before powerfully driving up through the mid foot and heels to standing.