Winter Training Tips for Mountain Bikers

December 31, 2015

Ask a cyclist if they do any train­ing in the win­ter and most will answer with “Yes, of course, I’m on my train­er”.  But secret­ly they’d rather be doing some­thing else.

What if I told you there are oth­er ways of train­ing dur­ing those cold win­ter months that don’t involve the train­er? Strength train­ing, a.k.a dry-land train­ing! It will reduce your risk of injury, strength­en mus­cles and joints, and help you become the leader of the pack when spring arrives.

What is Dry-Land Training?

Dry-land train­ing is what cyclists refer to as off-bike train­ing: the in-gym, weight lift­ing por­tion of their train­ing that a lot of cyclists tend to avoid. When asked why they avoid it, you’ll often hear, “I’ll get too big”, “That won’t help me on the bike”, and “I need to spend more time on my train­er to get better”.

On-bike train­ing is cru­cial, and if you don’t do it, you won’t improve, but you also need to add dry-land train­ing in the gym with weight lifting.

Here’s why…

With cycling and many oth­er sports, ath­letes tend to suf­fer from overuse injuries that occur when the body com­pen­sates and repeats an action involv­ing bad mechan­ics. Strength train­ing is one way to increase joint strength and sta­bil­i­ty, build up weak, under­used mus­cles to take some of the sup­port, so stronger more dom­i­nant mus­cles are helped. Think about an assem­bly line and one of the work­ers is putting in 15 hours and the oth­er work­er is putting in 2 hours. What hap­pens to the 15-hour a day work­er? He burns out, and that’s what can hap­pen to your mus­cles. An injury from overuse will devel­op, includ­ing hip pain, knee pain, or back pain—anyone up for some patel­la femoral syndrome/condromalacia?

Imple­ment­ing some basic strength train­ing exer­cis­es will help you keep those injuries at bay.

Click here for 4 exercises for mountain bikers

Imple­ment these exer­cis­es to increase your core strength, leg strength, and upper body strength to han­dle what the trails throw at you. Think about it: the more leg strength you pos­sess, the less effort you have to put out when ped­al­ing, and with the leg endurance you earn over the win­ter, you’ll be feel­ing less tired as the sea­son moves along. By sup­ple­ment­ing your work­outs on the train­er with strength train­ing, you’ll increase your pow­er out­put on the bike. If you’re not look­ing to add strength to your legs—but I think every­one is—you will also build a durable body that will last. If you crash, you might actu­al­ly pre­vent a seri­ous injury, maybe even pre­vent a col­lar­bone frac­ture because of your new upper body strength, and you might even recov­er faster from the injury. As you can see, strength train­ing is very impor­tant when it comes your health, on and off the bike. No excus­es; give it a try.

About the Author: Steven Moniz is the Founder and Con­di­tion­ing Coach at Mon­vi­da Sports Inc. After train­ing and coach­ing indi­vid­u­als for sev­en years, Steven has learned that peo­ple need goals—something to dri­ve them —to get them to push hard­er, faster, and remain com­mit­ted. Mon­vi­da push­es ath­letes to exceed their goals through pri­vate train­ing ses­sions, class­es, online pro­grams and sports ther­a­py for all ath­letes. Steven has fused the things he loves in life: train­ing, help­ing peo­ple, and adven­ture sports.

want to learn more?

Mon­vi­da Sports Inc. offers great class­es and work­shops on train­ing for moun­tain bik­ing. For more infor­ma­tion click here.