Single Leg Exercises Progressions for Mountain Biking

Here are my basic single leg exercise progressions for building more pedaling power and correcting strength imbalances.

-James Wilson-

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  1. John K. says:

    Awesome vid James. Got a quick question for you. I broke my ankle this summer and my injured leg is significantly weaker than my other leg. My balance is also significantly lower when standing on the injured leg as well. Would you recommend focusing only on my injured leg until it catches up with my good leg? In other words, just doing the one-legged exercises on one side?



    Reply • November 17 at 8:29 am
    • bikejames says:

      Follow the Weak Side Rule – let your weaker side dictate the load and reps. Do a set on your injured side and then do the same thing on your other side. You want to train both sides, you just don’t want to reinforce the strength imbalance. Hope this helps…

      Reply • November 18 at 4:05 pm
  2. Chris says:

    Got something to add here:
    I’m recovering from the third ACL recon in my left knee and some cartilage damage which they tried to correct.
    As James said, don’t use more weight on the good side, this will make the imbalance even worse. It takes over a year to get symmetric again.
    When recovering from an injury, the good side has do to more work than the other side all the time during your normal life, for example walking stairs, picking things up, as well as riding your bike. If I go out riding right now, even when I really concentrate on using the same amount of power on each pedal stroke, the good side _will_ do more work, no matter what. This will not go away until the bad side has been recovered fully.

    Now, if you train hard on the good side, you’re asking for trouble and overuse/overtraining injury on the good side. It is very common in rehab that you develop symptoms on the good side, although it was perfectly fine before.
    So don’t.

    Reply • November 19 at 2:03 am
  3. John K. says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the tips James and Chris. I’m going to let the weak side dictate the reps and load.

    It’s funny, I can’t really feel the strength imbalance when I ride my bike. But when I go to the gym, it’s immediately apparent. To me that shows the importance of strength training.


    Reply • November 19 at 8:07 am
  4. Chris says:

    You might notice it when riding switch, i.e. switching feet when riding down the hill standing up, of course.

    Reply • November 19 at 8:36 am

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