Strength Training Exercises for Mountain Bikers

Is strength training important for mountain bikers?

I recently attended the Mountain Biking Championships in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. There, I watched cyclists jockey for position on incredibly rough terrain, hop, jump, balance and fall for two grueling hours and quickly arrived to the conclusion that strength training is a must for mountain bikers.

Whether you plan to race or prefer to hit the trails alone, strength training will only make you better. Hitting the gym will increase your force production, which will allow you to spin more efficiently; you'll be able to navigate technical trails better as you fatigue; and when you fall, your body will be able to absorb the impact as well as than a running back playing football.

Strength training will make your bones, ligaments and tendons all stronger—something any mountain biker who's taken a hard fall can attest is important. Having worked with mountain bike racers, I know that strength training is secondary to being in the saddle. But all you need is 45 minutes in the gym two days a week. It's a simple truth: Get strong and you'll become a better rider.

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