Mountain Bike Tips

Mountain Bike Training: Core and Shoulder Exercises

February 26, 2018

Mountain Biker at top of trail in woods as they ride down

Today’s guest post is from  Matthew Sklar at evo

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.

ABOUT evo:

We are evo—a ski, snow­board, moun­tain bike, surf, wake, and skate retail­er based in Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton, USA, with stores locat­ed in Seat­tlePort­land, 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.