This dedicated 30 - 40 minute exercise programme will boost your fitness and strength, giving you better control and handling of your electric bike
I’m not going to lie, dedicated e-bike training protocols are a lot like e-bike specific bike components…mostly hype. But if you’ve ridden an e-bike for any length of time, you don’t need me to tell you that the demands on your body are different when riding an e-bike.
And there are a couple of reasons for that. The obvious one is that, with the motor potentially pumping out over 500watts of peak power, you can choose to take it easy on the climbs and smash the descents, or you can smash the climbs and the descents.
Regardless of your approach, there’s simply no getting around the extra weight. Full power e-bikes are typically 8-10kg heavier than equivalent travel analog bikes, so you need to muscle the bike around a fair bit more. And to do that you need to be stronger for the entire duration of the ride. How do we get stronger for longer? Easy, we lift weights for higher reps and focus on muscular endurance, especially upper body pulling strength.
Lift weights, get stronger, ride better
Why the focus on pulling strength? Well, if you want to change direction, hop over a log, or simply do a manual, it’s going to require extra pulling strength as the e-bike is heavier.
And while an 8kg increase in weight doesn’t sound like much, especially if you can deadlift double bodyweight, if I asked you to chuck an 8kg kettlebell around for 2-3hours, that kettlebell would feel very heavy, very quickly. But that’s exactly what you’re doing when transitioning from an analog bike to an e-bike.
So we’re going to run with that concept and use a single kettlebell to enhance your performance for e-biking.
For the pulling portion of the workout we’re going to use the Pendlay row, so you’re basically in a stiff legged deadlift position with your back held in an isometric contraction, then you row the kettlebell to your chest.
Having a strong core is also essential. So the second piece of our e-bike training puzzle is a push-up sprawl, which will hit your core and help balance the pulling component of the workout too. We’ll alternate between both exercise in a superset.
We also have a kettlebell complex that will get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular fitness, where the explosive part of the kettlebell swing will make it easier to get the bike off the ground too. The swings are combined with split squats, to give your lower back a brief rest, while working on improving leg strength and endurance, so you’ll be less likely to collapse mid corner. Best of all, because you’re not going to set the kettlebell down during the 5min complex, it will target grip strength too.
Now, if you’re already doing a rounded strength and conditioning program, you probably don’t need to do anything different.
If, however, you’re struggling to maintain a good riding position on your e-bike and find it difficult to get the bike to move in the same way as your analog bike, then adding this 30-40min exercise program into your weekly routine will definitely improve your riding skill and capacity. It will also make it a lot easier and safer to get your e-bike out of your car or over a stile.
30 – 40 minute eMTB fitness workout
Perform the exercise in the order they have been prescribed.
Kettlebell Pendlay Rows: Target – Pulling strength
To perform the Pendlay kettlebell row stand with your feet shoulder width apart and place the kettlebell six inches in front of your toes. With soft knees (legs not fully locked out) shove your ass back and bend at the hips so your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Then reach down and grab the kettlebell with both hands, palms facing your legs.
You’ll know if you placed the kettlebell in the correct poston as your arms should be perpendicular to the floor. Brace your core and pull the kettlebell straight to your chest, not your belly.
Complete 15-20 reps, then move straight into the push-up sprawl.
Push-Up Sprawl: Target – Core and Pushing strength
The push-up sprawl combines isometric core strength with dynamic upper body movement, which makes it ideal for mountain biking, not just e-biking.
- Start in the top position of a push up and hold for 10 seconds.
- Now cross your left hand over your right hand, then immediately sweep your right hand under your left hand so you are back in the push up position, just rotated slightly to the right of your starting position. If your body was a hand on a clock face, it would be pointing at 2 o’clock.
- Now perform a push up. Next, walk your hands back in the opposite direction.
- Once back in the starting position hold for 10 seconds.
- Next walk your hands to the left. Don’t shuffle them, we want the arms to cross.
- Now your body is at 10 o’clock and it’s time to perform another push up. Finish by walking your hands back to the 12 o’clock position – that’s one rep.
Perform 10 reps, rest for 2 mins then start back with the Pendlay kettlebell rows – repeat for 5 rounds
Kettlebell Complex: Target – conditioning and explosive strength
Part 1: Kettlebell Swings
With the same kettlebell that you used for the Pendlay rows, set up with your feet shoulder width apart, but place the kettlebell between your feet.
With straight arms grab the kettlebell with both hands, lift it by extending your legs and let the kettlebell swing back slightly before popping it up by exploding from the hips. Don’t pull with your arms as they are just along for the ride.
The key to performing a good kettlebell swing is to set the hips back and drive the kettlebell up using your glutes. Knee bend should be minimal, as you don’t want to turn your swing into a squat, so keep the kettlebell close to your groin at the bottom of the swing. The top of the swing is when the kettlebell reaches eye-level. Complete 15 swings then transition straight to part 2.
Part 2: Split squats
The second part of our kettlebell complex is the split squat.
- Hold the kettlebell you used for the swings in your right hand, then take a step back with the right leg to get into the lunge position.
- Maintaining an upright torso and squat down, bending both knees. And yes, it’s okay to let the front knee go past your toes.
- When performing the split squat try to maintain 60 percent of your body weight on the leading leg.
Perform 10 repetitions, then get straight back to the swings.
On the Next round of split squats the kettlebell will be in your left hand and you step back with the left leg. Alternate between Parts 1 and 2 of the complex for as many rounds as possible in 5min. Rest for 2mins and repeat for another 5mins. Use a weight and maintain a pace that you can sustain unbroken for the full five minutes.
And whatever you do, do NOT set the kettlebell down.