Mountain Bike Strength Training

July
5

One of the hardest things for me about the riding season is finding the time and energy for all the great riding to be had and the training I need to avoid injuries or a late season slump. The irony is that as much as I prefer to ride my bike, if I don’t do […]

July
3

While mountain biking has a lot of positive benefits, one thing it isn’t good for is your core. That’s right, this beautiful sport that we all love is slowly eroding your core function and strength, setting you up for back pain and decreased performance. Let me explain why this is. First, mountain biking finds a lot […]

June
26

One of the biggest mistakes I made early on with my core training for mountain biking was avoiding exercises that directly worked the hip flexors. These muscles are located in the front of the hip and act to pull the knee up towards the chest and they tend to be short and tight for most […]

June
12

A persistent myth with mountain bike strength training is that because it is an “endurance sport” then you need to focus on higher reps and lower weights. Using 10-20+ reps per set and the relatively lighter weights they demand is supposed to help build the muscular endurance you need on the trail. And while this […]

May
29

I’ll admit that I am a more than a bit skeptical when it comes to new pieces of training equipment. Over two decades in the fitness industry will do that to you – rarely does something new do the job better than something we already have and even most “new” training tools are just rediscovery […]

April
24

Last week I was looking around online and came across an interesting study published in the Journal of Science and Cycling. In it they looked at the effects of two types of strength training approaches for off-road cyclists (a.k.a. mountain bikers). The study had two groups of cyclists, with one using Endurance Strength Training (higher […]

March
31

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of talking with Gene Arnold on his Bike Chat, which is part of his Regular Guy Mountain Biking Show. Gene is a regular guy with a passion for riding and he likes to share that passion with his fellow riders by interviewing people and reviewing stuff that he […]

March
27

Since 2005 I’ve been using Kettlebell Swings in my own program and to help my clients ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail. And after 12+ years they are still one of my favorite exercises because they build mountain bike specific fitness in a very efficient way. First, they are a great […]

February
6

Earlier this month I shared a couple of posts about what you can learn from some other sports, specifically Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and BMX Racing. If you read them then you might have noticed that one of the lessons from both of them was to focus more on improving your technical skills. In fact, if […]

January
31

For most of us, moving with speed and power on the trails isn’t something that comes naturally. At first trying to use explosive strength is usually accompanied by a lot of flailing of limbs and a general lack of grace, which leads to the term “spastic” being used to describe your riding style. Eventually, though, […]

January
23

This is a guest post from Jukka Mäennenä, a Finnish cycling coach who specializes in BMX and Mountain Bike training. Jukka is someone I have known for a long time and he has been on the podcast before and shared a great article and video on modern day mobility training for riders. The last time […]

December
19

Something a lot of riders don’t realize is that keeping your feet grounded on flat pedals is a skill. And like every other skill, it is something that you can train and improve. You see, having your feet fly off the pedals isn’t a sign that you need to attach your feet to the pedals, […]

December
12

Heading into the off season you’ll probably start to hear more about the importance of Periodization. Really just a fancy word for “have a plan”, there are a several forms of Periodization and some are better than others for the average mountain biker. First, a little about the history of the word and the concept. […]

December
5

Few things separate great riders from mearly good riders like the ability to carve through a corner. We’ve all had the experience of chasing that rider who we can keep in sight when things are going in a straight line but leave us in the dust once we hit a corner. Riders who can corner […]

November
21

One of my favorite images from history is when the Persian king Xerxes faces off with the famous 300 Spartans at Thermopylae…but it isn’t any of the battles or famous one liners that I think of. No, my favorite image is from before the fighting started, when the Persians had made their intentions known that […]

November
14

As I drove across the dark desert staring at the small patch of ground lit up by my headlights I started to get excited. Sure, I still had 9 hours of driving ahead of me but at the other end of the drive was a chance to learn some more about my two favorite training […]

October
17

One of the most common complaints I hear about from riders is that their lower back gives them problems. It could be tight, weak, sore or even painful but on some level their low back is affecting how well they can move and ride. Over the years I’ve seen this problem just get worse as […]

August
8

One of the biggest challenges I face during the riding season is balancing my training and riding. I know that my strength and movement is the base for my mountain bike specific fitness and so I need to do something to keep them high. But I also don’t want to be sore and tired when […]

July
25

While mountain biking has a lot of positive benefits, one thing it isn’t good for is your core. That’s right, this beautiful sport that we all love is slowly eroding your core function and strength, setting you up for back pain and decreased performance. Let me explain why this is. First, mountain biking finds a […]

July
13

Most riders I talk to tell me that they face three big obstacles when it comes to starting a training program: Kettle bells are not magical and just touching one won’t make you a better rider but the philosophy behind them is perfect for our purposes – do less stuff, but do it better. 1) […]

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James Wilson
Author and Professional
Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson