Monday, October 6, 2008

Mountain Bike Upper Body Strength Training

If you've ever ridden single track at pace, you will know that upper body strength is a crucial element in controlling the bike. This includes your forearms/grip, upper arms, back of the shoulder, upper/lower back, obliques an ultimately your entire core area. I have a sport-specific way to strengthen and condition these muscles without the need for a gym or boring chin-ups; all you need is a bike and a place to ride!

This is a pretty simple exercise, simply put your seat right down low and go for a ride. The aim here is to be climbing and peddling with your bum off the saddle, relying on the leverage provided by your upper body. Riding like this puts a greater demand on your "upper mountain bike muscles" instead of relaxing them on climbs and flats.

How Will This Make You Faster?
Improved upper body strength allows riders to have a much greater control over their bike when tackling rough or technical terrain. This exercise will also increase core strength, especially in the obliques, which when conditioned, will provide a lot of extra power to the peddles by improving your kinetic chain. If squats strengthen your legs, bench press strengthens your pecs and bicep curls strengthen your biceps, climbing out of the saddle strengthens your kinetic chain. Training in this way will give you stronger race starts, make you climb better, give you greater control over the bike and reduce fatigue induced by riding fast.

  • Hill starts, climbing out of the saddle are a good exercise if you don't want to spend your ride with your seat down.
  • find a hill that allows you to climb and then enter a descent immediately once passing the apex. go through this circuit a few times to build core/leverage strength when climbing and grip/handling strength when descending.

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