Truth be told; mountain biking is completely different from the normal biking we are all used to. Other than great skills you are required to have, this type of biking is all about strength, endurance and most importantly cardiovascular health.
You need these three key things to support those tough trails and also competitive racers.
If you are interested in this particular type of biking and you really don’t know where to start, we are going to help you get in the game. Here is how to train for mountain biking.
Work on your endurance
Talk to any serious mountain biker today; they will all tell you how endurance is key to successful mountain biking. Whether you are involved in this kind of activity as a professional or just for fun, you need to work on your endurance before you could get yourself into mountain biking. This is key; mountain biking can spread over several miles that don’t only involve varied terrains but can also last for days. In short, you need to be able to withstand long-distance rides and also those crazy climbs.
So how can you get all the endurance you need for mountain bike? We are certain this is the first question that will come into mind. Knowing if you are ready for this type of biking is pretty much simple; it all boils down to you. You can actually decide to test your level of endurance on the road. Take your bike and go for those long cycling sessions. Do this for about a week and keep increasing the distance each day you go out for those sessions. Doing this will actually help you develop the much-needed strength to allow you to hold a constant pace for a considerable length of time.
Also, combine those long rides with few technical bike trails will help improve your cardio and the most important endurance strength. If you can also join a local cycling group, take full advantage. This will take your endurance level to a whole new level.
Try different workouts
Making sure you incorporate a number of workouts in your training session is also essential if you want to be a successful mountain biker. This is important; after all, we have that one specific training that can help you improve on that one ability.
Train and Train
For you to be a successful mountain bike, constant training must be on top of the list. Set some time and take your bike for outside cycling. You can also practice right at home. You can actually pull a number of maneuvers right in the comfort of your gym. You can also join a spin group from around the neighborhood. Doing it with friends can actually act as a source of extra encouragement, as well as, supportive environment. Those indoor classes can also give all you need for off season training.
Work on your legs
For mountain biking, strong legs are everything. If you want to pedal for hours and produce the much-needed power to push your bike without any problem, your legs must be in shape. There are a number of things you could actually do to build great strength in this part of the body. Set aside some time and do split squats, lateral lunges and also a number jumps. Make sure you bring those few exercises into the whole training program.
A strong core is essential
Just like your legs, the core is practically one of the most important parts of the body you need to strengthen. It plays a key role in mountain biking as it provides a much-needed balance. Ideally, those strong abdominals come with plenty of benefits and top on the list is it give you more resistance and great performance
To help you work on this area, you actually need to try doing 200 to 300 classic crunches every single day. Word of caution though; if you are an amateur and just doing it for the first time, start slow and gradually switch to higher repetition as you progress. Moreover, muscle recovery is key; allow a day in between sessions as that will allow you to recover.
Always be vigilant and always look ahead
Another tactic to be a great mountain biker is to learning to be vigilant at all times. You must also be able to look ahead and scan through the trail in a matter of seconds. Although, this is one thing we all know we should, there are a pretty good number of people who don’t practice it. When you are practicing on this, try using your vision to alert yourself of any imminent obstacles that are close to you. You can then use that to assess what is further ahead
Work on your jumping
As has been said; mountain biking is an incredibly technical sport, and if there is one thing that is becoming more and more technical, then it has to be the jumps. With that in mind, it is important you learn this skill if you want to be a very successful mountain bike.
Find a great training environment and learn about this skill. However, you need to start small. Try jumping over those small obstacles like tabletop and once you have acquired the correct technique, you can then move to larger features.
Nevertheless, try learning this skill with friends. This is both for your safety and also encouragement. Learning this will come with its own share of issues ranging from falling down or even causing a lot of damages to your mountain bike. You could use some help.
Last but not least; correct posture is also important. This is one thing that is often looked down upon, but it does play a key role. For you to be a successful mountain bike, you need to work on your back. It must be strengthened and practicing the right posture while you are riding on your bike is what you need to learn.
However, for you to work the right way on this, the bike must be of the proper size and importantly fit. Unlike what we see on traditional bikes, mountain bikes require totally different riding positions. If you don’t have the right posture while riding, that will leave you feeling very tired. It could also leave you suffering from back injuries.
Common mistakes Mountain Biking Beginners do
As with any other activity, there are quite a number of mistakes beginners do. It is important you avoid them if you want to take your game a notch higher. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid.
Avoiding opportunities to improve your skills
Mountain biking is one area that has not been fully exploited, and like any other sporting or leisure activity, it is always a big learning curve. When getting started you should be ready to learn new skills like cornering, climbing or even braking. You will meet new terrains and you should be able to improve your skills, especially those you are struggling with. In short, work on a new challenge and strive to find a new solution to the problem. It is as simple as that.
Not sticking to your skill level
Truth be told; mountain biking is one of the most technical sporting activities you could get yourself into today. So if you don’t want to injure yourself and probably cause some serious damage to your bike, it is really important you go step by step. First, you need to get used to your bike. Thereafter, you need to learn a different skill. Doing that will allow you to go on longer rides.
Not dressing properly
What you wear as a rider is paramount; it can make or even break how enjoyable the ride can be. However, what most people don’t understand is that mountain biking dressing can vary with respect to the location you are riding in, ride duration and also the time of the day.
So before you could actually take your bike and hit one of the most popular spots out of town, you might need to check the weather first and also the kind of terrain you are likely to deal with. For example, it will make a lot of sense if you can invest in some well-padded pair of bike shorts and a well-built helmet to keep you safe all through.
Staying in the saddle
Just like those traditional bikes, we are all used to, mountain bikes come equipped with a seat. However, that doesn’t mean you need to use it at all times. If you normally watch those professional racing activities you will notice most riders even don’t use the saddle as it is better that way. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. First, your legs are some of the best natural shock absorbers. This can come truly in handy in mountain biking. You will be protected from shock and vibrations, especially when you are riding on a bumpy path.
This could be one of the simplest parts of riding a mountain bike, but it is also one of the most wrongly done parts of riding. Correct pedaling is needed when you are riding through any technical section. Normally pedaling strikes can be really dangerous when you are riding over roots, rocks or even tree stumps and if you want to lower the risk of being serious injured, you need to switch to a harder gear as that will lower your cadence. Another thing you need to work on is the positioning of your feet on the pedal. You need to place it in a way it won’t strain you. The best thing is that the moment you step on the pedal, you can easily tell if you are comfortable or not.
At the end really, when it comes to training for mountain biking, there is no magic behind it. It takes both training and dedication. For the best results, try training both off and on the bike. Plus, you need to set aside some rest days to allow your muscles to recover. Nevertheless,, you need to increase your endurance, engage your core muscles and also build strong muscles.
Updated on January 22, 2021 by Ben