Getting, or staying in shape for mountain biking doesn’t require a full gym’s worth of training equipment. In fact, you can build a solid strength training program in your living room.
Which is good, as the living room happens to be a place many of us are spending a solid chunk of our time right now.
In this three-part introduction to strength training at home, Alex Ackerley of NexusFit in Squamish, B.C. will walk through a set of basic exercises to help you develop mountain bike-specific strength.
Last week, the focus was on developing upper body strength. Part 2 will work on building well-rounded core strength. Part 3 will teach you how to develop explosive lower body power.
If you’re eager to get after it, NexusFit has put these basic exercises – plus some others – together into a free three-week training program that you can follow at home. To make sure you’re starting this strength training program off on the right foot, NexusFit has a free at-home self-assessment tool. It will help you figure out your relative strengths, and show you where you can focus on improvements for maximum benefit.
At home core workouts
Your core is what holds everything together. It connects your upper and lower body, and keeps you stable on the bike. In and out of the saddle, your core is what helps you steer, balance, and deliver power to the pedals.
Modified Side Plank
Many riders will already be familiar with planks. This basic exercise is an important part of any workout, helping you build strength to maintain a strong connection between upper and lower body while you’re on the bike.
Walk outs build on the strength you develop with fixed planks and add another element of dynamic movement. Mastering these will help you keep your body calm as the bike moves around under you.
They can help off the bike, too. These bad boys once won me a drinking game in Turkey. But that’s another story.
Half Kneeling Slasher
Core strength isn’t just about stability on the bike. Your hips are one of the main steering forces, whether you’re riding in the saddle or descending out of it. More than just holding position through a turn, these last two exercises help you build the core strength to drive power through the hips and build speed through corners.
Part 1: Upper Body Strength
Part 3: Leg Strength
If you would like direction in how to best combine these into a structured at-home training program, Ackerley has worked these exercised into a free three-week NexusFit introduction to strength training for mountain bikers program, which you can download to follow at home from NXFit.ca.
Alex Ackerley is a sports scientist and former pro rugby player whose new passion is mountain biking. After four years on the bike, he’s moved to Squamish, B.C. to get more time on the trails. He is one of the founders of NexusFit. His programs focus on “the most efficient solutions for mountain bikers. Minimum fuss, maximum effect. So they can spend more time on the bike.”