The key to stepping up your MTB game lies in strengthening your core. A strong core gives your back the support it needs to send it down the single track. These mountain biking exercises target key muscle groups vital to a successful ride.
Work your inner core with these simple twists.
Keep your spine elongated and at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Be sure to engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your tailbone. Start with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent (for an added challenge, keep your knees bent but lift your feet). Using an eight-pound kettlebell start by holding the weight with both hands in the center of your body (you can bend your arms, keeping the weight close to you). Next, twist and pass the kettlebell towards one side of your body, then the other for one rep. Make it harder by touching the kettlebell to the floor. For an even tougher workout, touch your forearms to the floor.
Reps: 10-12 ea
Hollow Pose with Leg Extensions
In this mountain biking workout, the movement activates your deep core, which helps support your back.
Begin by laying on your back with your arms overhead or behind your head for more of a workout. Brace your core by squeezing your belly button towards your spine. Start with bent knees and shins parallel to the floor with flexed feet. Lift your arms, shoulders, and chest off the floor while keeping your neck aligned. Slowly straighten your legs, leading with your heels. Hold for a count. Then slowly return to the starting position for one rep.
Reps: 10 - 12
Stability Ball Y’s
Strengthen your back and shoulders with this stability ball exercise for mountain bikers. If you notice a pinching in your back, steer clear of this workout.
Lie on your stomach on a stability ball. Brace your core (like in the previous exercises) and keep your spine lengthened. Keep your legs straight, with the balls of your feet touching the ground for balance. If that’s too difficult, press your heels against a wall behind you for balance. Place your arms directly below you, aligning your shoulder, elbows, and wrists. Slowly pull your arms up so they are parallel with your body, making a “Y” shape overhead with your palms facing each other and thumbs pointed up to the sky. Don’t shrug your shoulders and keep your chin tucked by looking at the floor. Once you are comfortable with the movement, make it harder by adding 2.5-pound kettlebell weights in each hand.
Reps: 8 - 10
Round out your mountain biking workout by strengthening your glutes for big uphill climbs.
Place a resistance band around your ankles and sit in a half-squat position. Be sure to keep your upper body and chest lifted. Step forward while maintaining the squat. Make half moon inward circles with your feet as you walk. Be sure to keep your feet parallel and don’t let your toes turn out. Walk forward for 8 to 10 steps, then repeat walking backward for 8 to 10 steps. When working your way backward, be sure to keep the weight in your heels and hold a deep squat, like a sumo wrestler.
Reps: 8 - 10 steps forwards AND backward
Now you’re ready to tackle tougher single track and kiss that pesky mountain biking back pain goodbye. Perform this mountain biking workout a few times a week for best results.