The Best Mountain Bike Leg & Core Exercise You’ve Never Seen…

In this video I show you one of the most valuable leg exercises for developing the specific kind of lower body power and core strength we need on the trail – and you’ve probably never heard of it before! This unique exercise is called the Rotational Lunge and uses a sandbag, which is a tool that until recently I did not truly appreciate. After seeing a demo by Ultimate Sandbag creator Josh Henkin I realized that I was missing out by not employing the unique exercise variations available through this valuable training tool.

I use and recommend the Ultimate Sandbag because of its high quality construction and ability to change weights without needing to buy several different bags. You can find out more about them and buy one for yourself so you can take advantage of this exercise by visiting the link below:

 -James Wilson-

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  1. D M says:

    Awesome workout and I love the theory behind it! I don’t have access to the ultimate sandbag, but I’m wondering what else I can use to keep it as similar as possible. My thought is either medicine ball or the smaller medicine balls with handles in them and just trying to keep them pressed together throughout the movements. What do you think?

    Love the blog btw; Thanks for your effort.

    Reply • March 23 at 9:32 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      It is tough to try and replicate the benefits without the unstable load provided by the sandbag. The closest thing I could think of would be the sandbell but the handles on the sandbag place you arms in a more comfortable position.

      Reply • March 23 at 6:29 pm
  2. You’re killing me, James! I was all set to complain about this being too hard on the lower back until I tried it as shown. Actually feels good. I especially like the single leg finish. I beleive this really trasnslates to out of the saddle pedaling.

    Keep ’em coming…

    Reply • March 23 at 11:21 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Yeah, if you keep your chest forward and just move the bag your low back isn’t moving. Really unique core training move because of that.

      Reply • March 23 at 6:31 pm
  3. Mike says:

    Just by watching this I can see exactly how this would translate to the mountain bike and pedaling action. As I was watching this I was thinking that the pedal stroke is down with one leg. And down with one leg translates into body weight + bike weight. Most trail bikes are around 28-33 lbs, so adding body weight + 30 lbs sand bag (not including uphill gravity and of course gearing), this seems like an excellent workout! Now I want to go out and buy a sand bag and learn this exercise!

    Reply • March 23 at 1:26 pm
  4. Jeff says:

    Would love to see a combo drill using the sandbag with either DB or KB.

    Reply • March 23 at 3:29 pm
  5. Ian says:


    I wasn’t sure how you could compete with the single leg deadlift, but this one definitely needs to be added to the repertoire. I don’t have a sandbag, though. My thought is to string a towel through a kettlebell. This adds the instability and spread out grip, as well as a grip and wrist strength component. Do you think this is an acceptable substitute for someone who does not have a sandbag? Thanks again, James. Keep up the good work!

    Reply • March 23 at 8:35 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      I tried it with a kettlebell and found it a bit hazardous for my knee. I hate to say it but I am not sure what a good substitute for a sandbag is for this exercise.

      Reply • March 24 at 6:09 am
  6. Lisa says:

    I have the same problem, no access to sand bag! 🙁 Ill have to talk to my gym

    Reply • March 24 at 6:45 am
  7. John K. says:

    I tried this exercise using a dumbbell held in both hands. A dumbbell obviously doesn’t provide the same benefits as a sandbag, but man did the exercise feel good. Awesome challenge.

    Reply • March 24 at 9:07 pm
  8. cookie says:

    Must admit I’ve never bothered with things like this as they are pretty limited in what you can do, plus they are super expensive kit (for what you get). However, think I’ll chuck a bunch of old milk bottles full of water (wrapped in towels) into a duffel bag and give it a go. If nothing else holding that bag will give me a hand strength workout!

    would like to see this and slam ball integrated into DB combos

    Reply • March 29 at 12:54 am

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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson