Posted April 14, 2012 by Adam in mountain bike

3 Great Tips for Mountain Bike Fitness Training

Mountain biking takes stamina, strength and agility for long, off-road riding. Spending hours on the bike is great for technique development and practice for manoeuvring in muddy conditions or mounting steep inclines. However, there are some other mountain bike fitness training techniques that can help improve your mountain bike fitness level. Interval training, resistance training and knowing what to eat can help increase your stamina when you’re out on the trails.

Mountain Bike Fitness Training 1 – Interval Training

Whether cross-country or downhill riding is your thing, cardio fitness training is essential for improving your fitness level. Pushing yourself to the limit may not be as effective as interval training.

Studies have shown that interval training, two to three days per week, improves speed and endurance. The body can learn to deliver oxygen more efficiently to the muscles. In addition, overtraining often caused by more strenuous workouts and burn-out occurs less frequently when adding this training to a regular workout schedule.

Interval training is based on alternating short bursts of speed for about 60 seconds, with slower recovery phases which should last about two minutes. The heart rate should reach approximately 85% of the maximum heart rate during the high intensity portion. During recovery, bring the heart rate back to about 110-120 bpm.

Routines should be kept at about 30 minutes per session for beginners. More advanced athletes should stick to under one hour to avoid burning muscle tissue. Running, biking, jumping rope, sprints or speed intervals can all be used as part of interval training. Sports like basketball, soccer and tennis are also great forms of interval training.

Mountain Bike Fitness Training 2 – Resistance Training

Resistance training balances any workout routine. It should be done at least three times a week. It can be added as part of the interval training, or done separately. Of course you need strong legs to control your bike and push through steep hills and rocky trails, but upper body strength is just as important for keeping control of the bike in treacherous conditions. A strong body overall means a controlled mountain bike and less injuries.

Resistance training can be done with or without weights. The best types of exercises are the ones that combine multiple muscle groups or multi-compound exercises. Exercises without weights include squats for the entire lower body, and push-ups for the entire upper body. Weights can be added to include dead-lifts for the lower back, overhead pull-downs for the chest and core and clean and presses for the shoulders and arms. Perform three sets of 12-16 repetitions for each exercise, alternating muscle groups. Allow for one to two days of rest.

Mountain Bike Fitness Training 3 – Nutrition

A healthy diet is important anyway, but it is especially essential for sustaining energy while riding mountain bikes. Keep blood sugar levels consistent by consuming a pre-workout meal consisting of complex, slow-burning carbohydrates. Balance these with proteins found in milk or a whey protein shakes after a workout to improve recovery. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts and seeds can also help boost potent antioxidants that improve the body’s ability to use lactic acid more efficiently, reducing fatigue.