Strength training can be done easily at home - here's a few examples.
3. Push Ups
What is it? The push-up is an integral part of any home workout session, and while road cyclists may avoid this upper-body and core-engaging move for fear of building muscle mass, there’s no other workout that mimics the position and forces of your upper body on the mountain bike like a pushup does.
How to do it
-Position your hands shoulder width apart on the ground, or slightly further apart to mimic bar width if you like.
-Toes together or hip width apart, lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, maintaining a straight plank position from head to toes.
-Go as deep as you can manage before pushing back up.
-Start with 3 sets to fatigue (the burn!) not failure and increase sets and reps with time.
If this is too hard you can start on your knees before progressing to the traditional pushup, described above.
From there, raising your legs (ie. on a phone book or small chair) adds to the strength required to complete the pushup.
You can then move towards hands together for ‘diamond’ pushups (forefingers and thumbs together in a diamond shape), engaging more triceps, or ultra wide pushups: moving your hand stance out beyond your bar width, which engages more pectoral muscles.
4. Inverted Rows
The inverted row is a great complement to the humble pushup, completing the push-pull duo of motions. For the mountain bike, think of the row as your friend with hopping and wheelies, where you’re actively pulling up. Like most of the exercises we have mentioned here, it’s also a great core stabiliser.
How to do it
A slightly trickier at home option, using a low horizontal pole, or bedsheet over door frame (or even a wooden support strut, positioned up high), you hold each end of the bedsheet, with your body in an inverted push-up position. Contract the body and pull yourself upwards, then return to neutral/long arm position.
Once again, you can’t go wrong with 3 sets of ten, then add variations before volume.
The higher the horizontal pole or bedsheets is located, the less angle your body will be at and the easier the exercise. As you progress, lower the grip on the bedsheet or seek a lower pole to increase the supported weight you’re rowing. The next step: complete the rows with one leg raised!
5. Plank and Superman
The plank and superman moves likely need no introduction, and are excellent complementary exercises to work both anterior and posterior core. These keep you strong when you’re fatiguing on the bike! Add these in to the rest of this workout and you’ll be a strength warrior!
How to do it
Plank: Start on all fours and drop onto the elbows, positioned under shoulders. Legs straight out as per pushup and straight from head to heels. Stay here for 30sec, not letting your bottom sag or raise out of the straight line. Repeat 3x to start.