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mountain bike training

Mountain bike training must be adapted to your everyday environment. If you’re lucky enough to be a countryside dweller, it’s easy to find the right places to train. For the rest of us, it’s important to get inventive with our mountain biking workouts. Follow these mountain biking sport tips to get yourself in shape for the hills.

Hill Mountain Bike Training Program

You absolutely cannot train effectively for mountain biking without hitting the hills. Spend a morning riding around your town or city. Pay attention to the hilly routes. You’re looking for the ideal combination of occasional climbs, followed by flat or downhill rest stretches. (For those of you living in San Francisco, good luck!)

Tip: Throw some weight training into your training program.

Mountain Bike Training

While cycling is the most vital component of your training program, some weight training can help to round out your workout and develop the muscular strength needed to conquer steep hills and hit breathtaking speeds.

Recommended exercises for mountain bikers include squats, leg presses, and lunges as these target the muscles and joints most commonly used by cyclists.

You can vary the way you approach your hills. Combine gentle climbs, "spinning" the wheels in low gears, with hill attacks, where you aim to power your way to the top in the shortest time possible. Keep records of your attacks, and try to beat the time on your next ride. (See Sprint Work, below).

Spinning your way slowly up the hill is an important skill. Mountain bike training is about more than just fitness; gauging your energy levels and pacing yourself is vital on longer rides, and the experience of slow, less draining hill climbs will stand you in good stead on your next bike tour. New to the area? Consider mapping out the best route on an old street map, until you have learned the route perfectly.

Sprint Mountain Bike Training Program

Again, hills are important to sprint work. While you can sprint on the flat, your heart rate will climb faster if you're climbing, too!

The ideal hill sprint is 30 to 60 seconds. More than that is likely to exhaust you, while less will not spike your fitness up as quickly. Combine your sprints with rest periods, but don't stop riding, just take it easier. (This is why it's important to know how to "spin" your way up a hill.)

Peak 8 training is huge in the world of sport at the moment. Set up a peak bicycle sprint routine, where you max out your sprinting speed for 30 seconds, separated by two minutes of easy riding, eight times during your interval training session. If the incline varies, aim to use the gears to help you maintain the same amount of effort, down or uphill.

Endurance Mountain Bike Training Program

Endurance training is not essential unless you're training for a long bike tour. In that case, it's useful to know that you can ride for hours every day.

Sprint training (see above) will also improve your strength and endurance, but consider including one or two long rides per week for 12 weeks before your tour. A long ride would be at least four hours with one break. As the tour gets closer, you'll need to increase your long rides to two per week. Two weeks before the tour, if possible, complete three long rides; then take a week off before the tour begins. Read more about mountain bikes.

Did you know...?

Mountain Bike Training

Did you know that strong arms and core body strength are necessary for serious mountain bikers?

If you are looking to maintain your control on a bike that is constantly being pushed from side to side in the face of fatigue, weight training is going to be vital. It boosts the muscle's endurance in such tiring circumstances therefore helping cyclists to avoid making costly mistakes due to the effect fatigue has on decision making.

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