MTB strength, speed, and power


 The key to winning and injury prevention

Exercise 1: Walking dumb-bell lunge 10 strides out and back.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some world class athletes in the cycling community, as well as dealing with some interesting injuries. 

The most common injury we see in clinic from our cyclists are to shoulder, wrist, and necks.  If the impact of the fall doesn’t break a bone it can still cause a lot of bruising, swelling, and hamper the athlete’s ability to continue training.  

While we have a great team of therapists to get you back on your bike after an injury, I would rather focus on what it takes to limit these kinds of injuries.

For a high speed, high skill sport , the best tip on injury prevention is body strength, muscle speed, and leg power.  Basically, the fitter you are the least likely it is that you will crash.   

Exercise 2: Dumb-bell press-up to row

I will talk about my favourite strength, speed and power routine for mountain bikers.  But before that, let me offer a couple of other unique tips on injury prevention.

Know your route. Increased fatigue has a direct correlation to injury. If you think you are doing a one hour ride and it takes you three hours, you are likely to lose concentration, make a mistake and go down.  Know your routes and the difficulty of the routes.  Check out this great free app for every MTB trail in NZ which I use for planning all my rides. In the App store search for TrailForks (the link is

The brain runs on glucose and glucose is the first fuel to burn. For a ride of more than 90 minutes your brain will start to bonk or “hit the wall”. Have plenty of energy bars or gels ready.  I take the first gel at 45 minutes and wait a good 45 to 60 minutes before having another one.  

Exercise 3: Side jump squat


Hydration. Be hydrated going into the ride and take 50 percent more water than you think you will need. I like to take one bottle of water and one bottle of electrolyte replacement, sipping out of them in turn so they both go down together.  

Exercise 4: Swiss ball dumb-bell row

Know good body positioning. Take a MTB skills course and practise balance as much as you can.

Get out of the saddle. The seat is there to sit on when climbing a long hill, otherwise you should be standing. This gives you more control, lowers your centre of gravity and gives you the ability to react to the terrain you are riding on. The most common mistake beginners make is to stay seated going down hills.  

One of the common principles in cycle performance for the mountain biker, downhill rider or BMX rider is good core stability, strong shoulders, and of course good power in the legs. Part of the reason I love this type of cycling so much is that it’s a total body workout.  

Below is a short sharp workout that you can do at almost any gym. Equipment needed is a Swiss ball, medicine ball and one set of dumbbells approximately 8kgs each. Always start with a good 10 minute warm up on either the rower or exercise bike. I personally prefer the rower in that it gets the whole body working, not just the legs.

Exercise 5: Goblet squat

Each exercise is super-sets; so you do exercise 1 and go immediately into exercise 2. Repeat this until you have completed three sets of each exercise. Then move onto exercises 3 and 4, repeat three sets then finish off with exercises 5 and 6.  

Finish with a complete Obie Roller cool down to release any tension in the body and flush the lactic acid out of the spent muscles. (For this complete release go to

After three sets each you will feel every muscle in your body. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us at Advance Wellness or come along to our MTB specific circuit class on Monday and Thursday nights.

Exercise 6: Swiss ball dumb-bell press

Have a great month and ride hard.


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