Ultimate MTB Exercise / Workout Programs – UPDATED 2021
There are many MTB exercise workout programs available today, and for good reason. Mountain biking is a tough two wheeled sport that requires a healthy, fit and resilant body to perform optimally. So focusing on a range of muscles through dynamic exercises can help you become fitter and stronger on the bike. Thus improving you recovery, power, speed and results.
MTB Exercise Program – A Complete Guide
A perfect MTB exercise program doesn’t just mean you need to hit the trails, day in and day out. It should also include a strength program that can improve your efficiency, strength, and balance on the bike.
Many of us though don’t have the time to hit the gym or even have access to one for that matter. Luckily there are some MTB exercises that can be performed at home.
These exercises should focus on dynamic movements related to mountain biking. Since mountain biking isn’t all about fitness climbing and speed. The exercises should be performed regularly to provide dynamic strength and balance when on the bike. Remember trail riding requires much more stability and balance than paved road riding and your core and upper body need to be strong. But it also needs to be stable under load and this is where dynamic MTB exercises come into play.
The best MTB exercise workout programs will base these dynamic exercises into your training plan 3 times per week. These MTB exercises should be spread apart from your hard interval days or workouts. Splitting them apart allows you to focus on form and control during the exercises, without adding excess fatigue beforehand.
Each week focus on increasing the time of each MTB exercise or adding another exercise into the plan. Just like your mountain bike training, increase the load every week, and don’t forget to add in some recovery weeks. Doing so will allow for adaption.
Ultimate MTB Workout Program – Getting Started
Getting started with your MTB workout Program is relatively easy. First, plan the days into your training plan that allow you to be fresh before performing any of these exercises.
Each exercise should be performed slowly and with control. Below are some exercises to get you started. The exercises that include weights should be performed with a low weight kettlebell when starting out. As you get more comfortable with the technique, look to add more weight or increase repetitions into your MTB exercise workout programs.
Below are some great exercises from NXFT’s exercise channel.
Quadruped crawl – This exercise focuses on core stability
Bear crawl – The bear crawl focuses on a more dynamic movement than the quadruped crawl. The exercise helps to improve stability and strengthen your wrists, neck, and head position.
Spiderman Push UP – This push up variation helps to increase shoulder and chest strength. Thus providing better balance and control over the handlebars.
Squat Jumps – This exercise focuses on the muscles of the calves, quadriceps, buttocks and hips. It also helps to strengthen the bones in the spine
The kettlebell swing
Kettlebell swings are about building power from the hips. Pick a lightweight kettlebell to start with. Position your feet hip-width apart with the kettlebell in front of you. Bend your knees slightly and swing the kettlebell forward. Start with 10 repetitions and in the following weeks look to increase the weight.
Now it’s time to put this all together for a beginner MTB workout program. These are all easy to do at home, with minimal equipment needed.
Make sure to start with a 15-minute warmup beforehand so you’re ready to go.
3 sets of 5 repetitions – Quadruped crawl
3 sets of 5 repetitions – Bear crawl
3 sets of 5 repetitions – Spiderman Push Up
3 sets of 10 repetitions – Squat Jumps
3 sets of 10 repetitions – kettlebell swings
More exercises can be added to the exercise plan once you have gotten comfortable with these exercises. But it is important to remember not to try to include every exercise when starting out. Just like your training, build into it slowly.
MTB Base Training
Just like your MTB base training, your MTB exercise workout program should be based around periodization. This means you should be breaking your strength training into periods. In the beginning, this means starting with the MTB base training period. This is where you introduce the exercises and slowly increase the load. During this period it is important to not focus on maximum strength or speed.
This period should be focusing on a few main factors.
– Variety of Exercises
In order to maximize training adaptions, each phase of the strength training should be targeted towards a specific goal. So at the beginning of the exercise plan, the goal is to teach the body the correct technique while increasing load each week. Think of it just like your MTB base training after winter.
As you get stronger and reach the end of your base strength period, look at increasing the speed or weight used in the exercise. You can also start to add more specific exercises to eliminate any weakness you have on the bike, such as sprinting or accelerating.
MTB Dumbbell Workout
Once you are comfortable with the above exercises you can start adding some dumbbell workouts into the plan. Each MTB dumbbell workout should begin with low weight, with a focus on technique and movement.
Start by performing each of the exercises for 60 secs. After each exercise rest for 60 seconds before starting the next exercise.
Bicep Curl Squat
One of the biggest benefits of this exercise is the ability to increase the range of motion compared to barbell deadlifts.
Start by standing tall with the dumbbells located in each hand on either side of you. Keep your eyes forward and back flat. Bend at the hips and lower weights towards the ground. As you reach the ground rotate your palms towards you while keeping your knees slightly bent. Your back should be parallel to the ground at this position while contracting your glutes. Push your hips forward and let your legs straighten as you get back to the starting point.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels on the ground. Hold the dumbbells at the chest with both hands. With a straight back, lean backward until your abs start to engage. Keep the arms close to the body and twist the upper body to the right. Return to the center and repeat to the left. After each twist hold position for a few seconds to keep the abs engaged.
Push-Up to Renegade Row
Begin the dumbbell exercise in a plank position. Keep your wrists under your shoulders and both hands on each dumbbell. Keep your feet at shoulder-width and then bend the elbows into a push up position. As you push off the ground pull your left dumbbell up to your left rib cage. Return back to push up position and repeat with the left side. Make sure to keep your back straight and your hips level through this motion.
Remember to keep your MTB Dumbbell Workout slow and controlled during the first few weeks. After this look to increase the weight and add more exercises into your workout program.
Squats For Mountain Biking
Squats are a well-known strength workout, they use large muscle groups around the hips and legs, but also offer a core workout too.
There are many variations of squats for mountain biking but the principles below are common with them all.
– Feet located shoulder-width apart. Toes pointed outwards
– Knees track forward in the direction of the toes.
– The torso must remain vertical
– The spine is curved when bracing the core
The goblet squat is target towards the beginner that hasn’t performed any squats before. Start by standing in an upright position holding a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. Keep your core tight and back straight, then bend your knees until your elbows reach your knees. The weight helps the newbie to keep more of a vertical torso position.
The back squat is beneficial to mountain bikers because of the large load and speed used in the exercise. With the bar resting on your traps and shoulders, position your hands even on each side of the bar. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart with the toes pointed out slightly. Brace your midline and bend your knees into a squat position, keep your core tight and back flat. Your knees should track your toes until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
The front squat is a perfect squat exercise for the mountain biker’s core. Though be careful as it is a much more demanding exercise on the core than the other squat exercises. So it is important to learn how to release from the movement before attempting it with a large weight.
Start by position the bar on a squat rack at shoulder height. Grab the bar with both hands faced towards the ground, shoulder-width apart. Position your feet directly below the bar and bend your elbows downward. Make sure your chest now is touching the bar and then rest the bar on your shoulders. Then bend your legs to lower into the squat position. Remember to keep your knees wide apart and heels down.