Mountain bike training tips
To excel in mountain biking, we have put together some of the best mountain bike training tips to help increase your level.
Simulate Mtb Races
Mountain bike training not only helps increase fitness but simulating races in practice can help you be more confident on race day. Find a mountain bike trail that has similar features to that of your next Mtb race. This should include, steep climbs, berms and a collection of rocky or rooty sections.
Making hard efforts at race pace will allow you to practice hard riding over similar terrain and prepare you for your next race.
High force mountain bike training
To ride fast offroad you need to be able to put down a lot of force and high amounts of torque.
Mountain biking is very much different to road cycling. You will need to learn to produce low cadence with high force during periods of the race. The muscle fibre recruitment needs to be applied to your mountain bike training regularly. Focus on big gear workouts once to twice per week during your early season training. This can be done both on a road bike or mountain bike.
Slow down your mileage
Increasing your volume each week will help sustain a higher long term fitness. Adding more low-intensity time to you mountain bike training allows for more consistent training throughout the season. Keeping this volume low instead of average intensity will allow better recovery for the more strenuous efforts, but will enable you to increase mileage without add too much fatigue.
Add running into the offseason
While running is a strenuous exercise, adding running into your mountain bike training plan can help strengthen areas neglected by cycling. Running, in general, will help develop both your hamstrings and glutes, which in turn will help drive your pedal stroke more efficiently. Make sure to slowly increase the running during base training to allow for the body to adapt to the force and impact of running.
Use periodisation in your training
By breaking your mountain bike training up into blocks throughout the season will allow you to work on specific areas while also allowing specific stress to be applied. Periodisation will help your form arrive in the right time of the year and prevent you from being overcooked to early in the season.
Periodisation is also a great way to make sure you allow for adequate recovery between races and during the offseason.
Move to the road for recovery
Moving your recovery rides to the road bike will allow lower heart rate and less power. Riding on the road provides consistent surfaces and gradients, meaning you are less likely to push too hard. While this doesn’t have to be on the road bike, moving to asphalt will provide a much faster recovery than riding offroad.
Practice your mountain bike start
Practising your mountain bike starts will allow for a better placement into the first single track segment. Training for the beginning of a race will provide practice of clipping in and even sprinting. Meaning both your leg speed and explosive power will increase in the process.
Learn to attack Corners
Practising cornering will not only prevent you from crashing but also provides free speed. During the beginning of the season, practising entrance and exit speed will help you carry momentum through without increased effort. Learning to pick the correct line and increasing your ability to go faster through corners will also help you to dial in your technique for race day.
Add Plyometrics to your training plan
Mountain bike racing is becoming more explosive and shorter. Meaning the demands required of a mountain biker has changed in recent years. Adding plyometrics into your mountain bike training will help to develop your fast-twitch muscle fibres. Plyometric exercises such as explosive jumping add variation and help improve force and speed which in turn will help enhance your mountain biking.
Add a dropper post to your bike
More and more cross country racers are moving towards a dropper post. Doing so will allow you to tackle steep and technical sections with increased confidence. It also provides a safe alternative to reconnaissance rides the day before the race. The result is less risk taken during technical descents.
Add mountain bike sprint training
Many mountain bikers forget about incorporating sprint training into their plan. During a typical mountain bike race, you will see multiple accelerations out of corners and attacks during the race. Developing your sprint provides you with a significant advantage when closing gaps or making an acceleration into the single track.
Incorporate mountain bike intervals
Multiple short, intense efforts are what mountain biking generally entails. Changing speed and accelerations is quite common, that doesn’t mean we should only train this. Implementing longer intervals at threshold (8-20 minutes) allows for effort close that of your mountain bike races. The sustain efforts during these mountain bike intervals will help you to both increases your threshold power but also allow you to practice race situations.
Mountain bike Coaching
Structure and intensity distribution during your mountain bike training is essential.
If you are looking to improve your performance with the most effective and time-efficient training, SportCoaching provides monthly mountain bike coaching for all levels of mountain bikers.