February 26, 2018
We started selling mountain bikes at evo not only because it’s an amazing off-season sport for skiers and snowboarders, but also because mountain biking is a ridiculous amount of fun, and way more fun than hitting the gym. However, at the end of the day, a little bit of time in the gym goes a long way on the trail.
Your core strength sets the foundation for mountain biking. We’re not going to tell you to stop drinking beer, but we do want to work on that beer belly a little bit, as your core is where it all starts on the bike. While your arms and legs obviously do a ton of work while you’re riding, a strong core can help to avoid a lot of common mountain bike ailments, like a sore lower back. The last thing you want is a sore back while you pedal epic trails like Moab’s Whole Enchilada or Oakridge’s epic singletrack.
We partnered with a Seattle-based sports medicine group, Kinetic Fitness, to learn about some exercises to help build a strong core for mountain biking. Here’s what they had to say about core strength:
“Having a strong core might be a buzz word, but it cannot be overstated. It’s paramount to generate stability throughout the torso while still being able to fully inhale and exhale. Not only does the core assist in bending and twisting the torso, but it must be able to resist rotation as well. When done efficiently, the core acts as a brace that transfers force equally to the areas that are prime to handle it, and away from areas less optimized such as the low back.”
Watch these videos below for some tips and exercises that you can do to help keep you on the bike and off the couch.
The first exercise we recommend is the plank, an oldie but a goodie. Planks are great because they can be done nearly anywhere. You may think it’s a simple exercise, but it’s very important to plank correctly to maximize the benefit and so you don’t get hurt. With planks, it’s important to keep a neutral position on your back, not overly rounded in either direction. Focus on long, slow breaths, holding for sets of 10–15 breathes. Your back should not be tight, focus on your abs and core. Changing the focus to the lateral core and glutes, side-planks are a great exercise. We like to focus on breathes, not the time spent for doing planks. This helps to emphasize the stabilizing muscles of your core rather than influencing you to hold the plank at the cost of good form.
Bear crawls are another exercise you may already be familiar with, but how does it translate to riding a mountain bike? By focusing on the core and shoulder, bear crawls will help you translate power to your bigger and stronger muscles that allow you to crush climbs and descents over rough terrain.
These simple exercises will give you the solid muscular base you need to be able to confidently rip it up on the trail, free of pain. Remember to focus on your breathing and form, not repetitions and speed.
We are evo—a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We seek to bring our customers the highest quality outdoor gear all while creating an extraordinary customer experience, and giving back to the communities in which we work and play. evo also likes to travel to remote places across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, or legendary mountain biking locations through evoTrip adventure vacations.