Get fit for riding with this basic gym equipment
Let your bike know who’s the boss this year with the help of our tailor-made strength sessions for mountain bikers. Here’s some gym equipment suggestions.
Having access to gym equipment will increase the benefits of training massively, but we understand it’s not always practical or affordable to have a pro-level gym where you live. Which is why we have created three levels of equipment, based on available space and funds. Also, if time is tight, having a good garage gym will make it much easier to train efficiently than attending a commercial gym – not to mention savings on the monthly membership.
Level 1: The weekend warrior
1 Kettlebell / Pull-Up Bar / Resistance Bands – Total cost: £100-150
A single Kettlebell is relatively cheap and versatile so it should be the first purchase for anyone looking to gain strength on a budget. The weight of the kettlebell will be determined by your current strength level, we suggest starting light and progressing to a heavier kettlebell as your strength and fitness increases – 8kg for females and 12kg for males are good starting points. Having a kettlebell too heavy early on would restrict the number of exercises you can perform and increase the risk of injury, so remember, at this stage it is important the variety and quality of movements takes priority, not the maximum weight you can handle.
A pull-up bar is for more than just doing pull-ups. But even if it wasn’t, the The pull-up is one of the best upper body strengthening movements to improve your riding so you need to get one. A pull-up bar is for more than just doing pull-ups too, we’ll get to that later though.
These vary greatly in price depending on the type, length and thickness of the band. Light ones can be incorporated into your training for balancing muscle groups and targeting areas of weakness. Also used for mobility and speed/power work, resistance bands are versatile and can be easily taken on trips to train with and use as warm-ups for rides.
Level 2: The Quietly Competitive
Gymnastic Rings (TRX) / Medicine ball / Plyo Box (bench) / Cardio equipment + All Level 1 kit – Total cost £250-300
Suspended from your pull-up bar, rings multiply the number of movements in your arsenal. Great for rowing movements and shoulder stability work.
Still relatively cheap, some of the most effective movements for core and conditioning can be done with a medicine ball. We suggest using 6kg for females and 9kg for males, if you are unsure or have not trained before then reduce the weight to 4kg and 7kg respectively.
Not just for plyometrics, a box or bench can be used in many ways to help increase the return on your training investment.
You may already have a turbo trainer set up. Failing that, a skipping rope or place to run would be great. Combining cardio with other movements will dramatically increase your riding fitness.
Level 3: The Ultimate Rider
Barbell & Weight Plates / Squat Rack / Watt Bike or Rowing machine + All Level 1 and Level 2 Kit – Total cost £2,000-2,500
Barbell and weights
It could be argued that a barbell is all you’ll ever need for strength training. We agree barbells are amazing and that it’s almost impossible to get top-level strength without one. However, we also understand the financial and space commitment needed to access one. If you want to take your training (and riding) to the next level then a barbell with significant weight is essential for exercise like squats and deadlifts.
Without a squat rack, the barbell can not be fully used safely. So we strongly recommend getting a squat rack for effective strength training and safety. You’re not training to be a power lifter so racks rated to safely support 250kg in weight should easily meet your training needs.
Rowing machine or air bike
These are the luxury items, but if you can incorporate them into your training you’re in for some next-level fitness, especial when it comes to data driven intervals and our favourite – short intensity sessions.