The side press is one exercise I get a ton of questions about. If you have done my DB Combos you know it is one of the 2 main strength exercises used in the program and I get a lot of people wanting to know why I use it instead of another exercise. I’ll admit that on the surface the relationship between this exercise and mountain biking does seem obscure.
For those that don’t know the Side Press is a standing shoulder press where you also incorporate a lateral body bend:
1) 2) 3)
The secret to getting the most out of this movement is in driving the body bend from the hips. You’ll notice in the middle pic that my hips are driven over the foot on the same side I am pressing up. By pressing the hips over to drive the bend I am practicing some important mechanics behind cornering.
Your lateral hip mobility and core strength are important components to proper cornering technique. When you lean yourself, your bike or both over in a corner you have to counterbalance yourself with your hips. If you lack the mobility, strength and body awareness to do this you will struggle to get consistent with this important trail skill.
I use the side press because it covers a lot of bases that mountain bikers really need in their training program- besides the hip mobility and core strength it also works on shoulder strength, mobility and stability. The side press is a perfect example of how a “sport specific” exercise doesn’t have to look anything like what you do on the bike. By using an exercise to enhance the several physical components of a higher level skills, like cornering, you can really enhance you saddle time with your gym time which is the reall hallmark of a sport specific program.