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At-home strength training for mountain bikers – Week 3

Exercises to build leg strength and power that don't require any gym equipment

NexusFit single leg squat

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.

The first week, the focus was on developing upper body strength. Last week worked 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.

Leg Strength

Many mountain bikers already have a good handle on how to develop aerobic energy production. But developing the explosive power needed to get up a steep pitch or wall of roots is different than what it takes to spin up a fire road. To develop that punchy strength, these exercises will focus on developing power in your quads and hamstrings.

Concentric Strength

This first set of exercises helps develop strength. A mix of single and double-leg exercises helps teach correct movments and identify imbalances between legs.

Hinge – Single Leg Hinge

Hip hinges, or single-leg hinges are a good warm-up. They’re also a good way to asses where your body is at before starting each workout.

Skier Squat

Single Leg Squat


Explosive Power

Once you develop balanced strength in each leg, you can then teach your muscles to explode with power.

Box jump

Reactive Box Jump

Broad Jump

Part 1: Upper Body Strength

Part 2: Core 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.”