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Why In-Season MTB Strength Training Matters

During the summer in Squamish, many people prefer to exercise outdoors, causing the gyms to empty out. This trend is likely common in other places as well, but it's particularly noticeable here due to many athletes being away in Europe for races. While the professionals continue their training even while travelling, I want to address the rest of us - the weekend warriors, free riders, bike coaches, and amateur racers. It's around June when many of us stop going to the gym and neglect our strength training, whether consciously or unconsciously.

My message to you is simple: don't let this happen. Here's why In season MTB Strength Training matters:

  1. Riding is catabolic, which means it can lead to muscle loss rather than maintenance or growth.

  2. Within just 14 days of stopping strength training, your gains start to decline, impacting your power on the bike for both climbing and descending.

  3. You become more susceptible to injuries without the varied movements from strength training that can counteract the stiffness caused by cycling.

  4. Improving your bike handling skills is enhanced by developing and maintaining upper body and core strength through strength training.

  5. By continuing with strength training, you can finish the summer stronger than when you started, giving you a better foundation for the next off-season and the potential for greater progress in the following season.

Understanding the significance of in-season strength training for mountain bikers, let's look at how you can adjust your training program for consistency and performance optimization:

  1. Keep workouts shorter, aiming for under an hour each session. Even a 15-minute session can be effective in providing a training stimulus.

  2. Two strength training sessions per week can still yield strength gains.

  3. Focus on shorter, intense workouts targeting stability, strength, power, and mobility instead of gaining muscle mass during the summer season.

  4. Balance your weekly training schedule to accommodate big rides or races, ensuring adequate recovery time.

  5. Avoid excessive tapering and use lower-priority rides as training events. Strength training before shorter rides can often make you feel stronger. Reserve tapering for key events.

Mountain Biking Strength Training

Another crucial factor, in my view, is the compounding gains. The better you conclude each summer, the better prepared you will be for the off-season. Consequently, you are more likely to surpass your previous off-season achievements. Consistency makes this achievable, regardless of age.

For personalized training programs, consider working with a certified MTB strength coach or cycling personal trainer. Their expertise can help you identify areas for improvement, design a tailored training plan, and offer valuable insights to enhance your performance on the trails.

In-season strength training can truly transform your mountain biking experience, boosting your performance and reducing the risk of injuries. By incorporating targeted exercises, functional movements, and a balanced approach to training and recovery, you can enhance your skills, endurance, and control on the trails. Remember, consistency is crucial, and seeking guidance from a qualified coach can maximize your training efforts and help you achieve your riding goals.

You don't have to go nuts, just start with some consistency. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!


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