Mountain Bike Strength Training

December
4

The only thing more abundant than “pumpkin spice” flavored stuff this time of year are excuses not to train. Whether its family in town, all the holiday parties or just a general lack of motivation when it gets dark at 5 o’clock in the evening, December probably sees the fewest workouts of any month. Which […]

November
29

Every once in a while I have a lightbulb moment that makes me realize that I have been missing something really important in my training. Like the first time I was introduced to using mobility exercises to compliment my usual focus on “get stronger”, these moments open up a whole new way of seeing the […]

November
6

A lot of people wonder where I get the motivation to workout. Usually they are looking for something to make them want to workout because, let’s face it, working out isn’t always fun and easy. To help offset this most of us look for some sort of motivation to drive us. Kind of like Rocky […]

October
16

I’m kind of a home-body. I mean, I’ve got everything I need at home. My family, my dog, my bike and my gym. But sometimes I have to travel and get out of that comfort zone. Like today…I’m waking up in Bend Oregon. I’m here to present at the Venture Outdoor Worx conference, where my […]

October
2

When I first started MTB Strength Training Systems in 2005 my main goal was to help other mountain bikers discover the power of a 21st century strength and conditioning program. In the last 12 years I’ve had the good fortune to help thousands of riders through my online training and coaching programs, but I’ve always […]

August
7

As riders we are taught to take good care of our bikes. After all, we are relying on them to make it down the trail without falling apart and getting us killed so it only makes sense to make sure that they are working well. Part of this is doing some assessments of the bike […]

July
31

Over the last couple of years working with the Steel Mace I’ve been introduced to how important it is to be able to connect both sides of your body when pushing or pulling. Since the Steel Mace has an offset load that I’m holding with both hands, it forces me to counteract what I’m doing […]

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. […]

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James Wilson
Author and Professional
Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson