Don’t skulk around in January - get active!

If you ride hard you get better at it and you’ll get fitter. But for premium power it makes sense to get down to the gym and workout in specific ways.

>>> 11 reasons why mountain biking is the best form of exercise

Have a look at what EWS star racer Greg Callaghan and his mountain bike specific gym workout…

How to train for mountain biking

As stated already, if you ride hard you get better at it. It’s a common idea that makes a lot of sense. Meaning that the more time you spend on your bike, the more you’ll improve. In theory that’s right, but it takes a little planning to become the best rider you can be.

From supplements like creatine powder to getting creative with your fitness regime, here are a few tips to improve your training.

Think about your diet

If you’re a weekend warrior, which most of us are, how you look after yourself in the week can have a real impact on how you ride at the weekend. Eating healthily is of course paramount, but you can also increase protein intake with supplements such as whey protein. It’s all about giving yourself the best chance when you get on the bike at the weekend, so good sleep is also key as is regular exercise.

Now onto the training…

Trail training

If you’ve got the luxury of a good trail that’s not only close by but varied, you can customise your training regime.  The key is being creative and bringing something different each time you ride. If you have a great trail which you ride all the time your body will become used to it and you won’t necessarily develop as a rider and reach your full potential.

Think of the trail as an exercise regime. Climb at intervals. Break it up with sprints. If there’s a steep downhill use it as a “climb and bomb”. Be as creative as you want. If you continue to break it up you’ll keep your body guessing and continue to improve. Remember, this is training to improve you as an overall rider.

Turbo training

If you’ve got a turbo trainer or a stationary bike at home it’s ideal to jump on about three times a week. If you don’t have the luxury at home, get yourself down the gym. When on a stationary bike it’s also good to try and mix things up a little bit with each workout.

Try and mix some off the saddle climbs in with some sprints and some cruising. Not only will it help improve your overall form, it’ll stop you getting bored when on the stationary.

This is especially good during winter when you may not be able to get out too much, but as is the case with any regime; build up slowly and don’t burnout. Don’t immediately add time into the equation. When you’re mixing it up, listen to your body.

Weight training and strengthening

Weight training can help strengthen your body to cope with the abuse it takes during biking. This could be coming off, taking big drops, or just hammering down the trail. It also thickens your tendons and toughens their attachment to the bone which is great to help with injury prevention.

As is the case with anything, to get results from weight training you need continuity. A good gym workout will only be beneficial if you maintain it and keep going.

Put all the elements together and watch your form improve.