Mountain and trail biking is a fun way to exercise. Mountain biking requires total body/core strength, explosive power, balance, endurance, and agility to maneuver the bike, build speed, and absorb the rough bumps and terrain. But it also means that certain muscles get overused, causing overcompensation in the body that can lead to musculoskeletal problems and conditions. Strength, cardiovascular, and cross-fit can benefit mountain biking training for improved performance, safer and more confident riding, and injury prevention.
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A few of the benefits of training are:
Maintaining body posture centered on the bike requires core strength to perform the movements when moving the body backward and forwards, side to side, and pushing up and down when different obstacles pop up. The exercises’ objective is to work various body parts simultaneously and diagonally, like the movements used on the bike.
The terrain determines the intensity, but the same basic principles apply to mountain biking training as other endurance sports. Here’s a training example for a beginner that can be adjusted to the rider’s needs:
Practicing technical skills will prepare beginning mountain bikers for success. Here are a few basic skills to get started:
Beginners can be amazed at how much terrain bikes can ride over and through. Modern mountain bike suspension and tire systems can handle it. However, using the correct technique is essential to get through or around the obstacles and avoid crashes.
Arriel, Rhaí André, et al. “Current Perspectives of Cross-Country Mountain Biking: Physiological and Mechanical Aspects, Evolution of Bikes, Accidents, and Injuries.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 19,19 12552. 1 Oct. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph191912552
Inoue, Allan, et al. “Effects of Sprint versus High-Intensity Aerobic Interval Training on Cross-Country Mountain Biking Performance: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” PloS one vol. 11,1 e0145298. 20 Jan. 2016, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145298
Kronisch, Robert L, and Ronald P Pfeiffer. “Mountain biking injuries: an update.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 32,8 (2002): 523-37. doi:10.2165/00007256-200232080-00004
Muyor, J M, and M Zabala. “Road Cycling and Mountain Biking Produce Adaptations on the Spine and Hamstring Extensibility.” International Journal of sports medicine vol. 37,1 (2016): 43-9. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1555861
Ranchordas, Mayur K. “Nutrition for adventure racing.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 42,11 (2012): 915-27. doi:10.1007/BF03262303
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