Single Leg Deadlifts for Improved Mountain Bike Pedal Power and Body Position

Few exercises boast as much transfer to the trail as the single leg deadlift. While the regular deadlift is one of my favorite mountain bike training exercises, the truth is that on the trail we pedal one leg at a time and so the single leg version is more specific to what we actually do on the trail.

Besides helping to build a stronger, more efficient pedal stroke the single leg deadlift also builds the core strength and upper back strength you need for better body position on the trail, leading to better balance and control when the trail gets rough. In short, it is one exercise that any serious rider should have in their program on a regular basis.

In this video I show you how to learn the right way to move when doing a single leg deadlift, ensuring that you are training your core and hips and not just wearing out your knees and low back. I also go over some common mistakes and ways to correct them, helping you the most out of every rep.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Josh Payne says:

    Live long, and prosper!

    Reply • February 28 at 11:31 am
  2. Cindy says:

    I wish I lived closer. I would hire you as my personal trainer in a heart beat!!
    Great post. I can’t wait to try it. ; )

    Reply • February 28 at 11:16 pm
  3. Joe says:

    Hi James, I’m coming off a semester of weightlifting at school and am figuring out a routine I can use now that I am no longer have access to a gym. So I am starting your “No Gym, No Problem” program. For reference, I already commute by single speed daily and converted my MTB to a 1X9 (now 1X10) and number of years ago.
    I have seen you mention deadlifts and single leg deadlifts a number of times as one of the most important exercises for mtb’rs, but it is not part of the “NGNP” program (because it should be done with a weight to see performance gains, I’m guessing?). I have some dumbbells; if I wanted to include single leg deadlifts in the routine would it replace another lift or would you integrate it into either Day 1 or 2? If I should just add it in, would it be part of the Power, Strength or Metabolic circuit (how many reps)?

    Reply • May 22 at 12:06 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      The NGNP program is based on having no equipment but your body and a pull up bar. While weighted exercises are important, for most riders focusing on bodyweight for a while will prove very beneficial. If you wanted to add in weighted exercises like deadlifts, shoulder presses and squats I wouldn’t add them into the NGNP program, I’d add in a 3rd day with an emphasis on 2-4 core lifts. Rotate your reps between 3X3, 2X5 and 1X10 and you’ll be good for a while.

      You can also get my Ultimate MTB Workout Program, which integrates bodyweight with loaded exercises through 6 phases of progressive workouts. Either way and you’ll do good.

      Reply • May 22 at 2:28 pm

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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson