5 Helpful Mountain Bike Training Tips

5 Helpful Mountain Bike Training Tips

Mountain biking is an exciting sport that will take you to all kinds of new destinations that aren’t accessible on foot or by car. But it’s not the same as going for a ride around your neighborhood. You’ll need to prepare your body and mind for the challenge of pedaling up steep hills. Many cyclists say it takes anywhere from 1 to 2 years to become an expert rider. So, what do you need to know before you hit the trail? Start by learning about the basics. If you’re new to the sport, use these mountain biking tips for beginners to start off on the right foot.

1. Training Your Muscles

It takes a lot of training to reach the top of the hill. Pedaling at an incline will wear you out fast if your body is not used to it. You can increase your endurance by building up your leg, back and abdominal muscles with various strength training exercises. Squats, lunges and deadlifts are perfect for working your glutes and legs. Work on building your balance with smaller weights to engage your core. Mix up your workout routine regularly to challenge your muscles in new ways and avoid reaching a plateau.

Endurance will help you go far on the trail. The best way to build up endurance is to increase the intensity and/or length of your workout routine. You can try riding farther and farther on your bike or practice riding uphill. If you don’t have anywhere to ride, go for a run or hit the elliptical at the gym to get your heart pumping. Monitor your distance or time and push yourself to reach new goals.

2. Get in the Right Position

Climbing steep hills tends to be the hardest part of mountain biking. You can easily run out of steam if you push too hard at the start. Slow and steady wins the race. Get into the right position on your bike to make it easier on your body. Your weight should be centered where the mechanical energy of the pedals reaches the ground, which would be the back wheel. Stay seated on a steep incline and lean your body forward to keep the momentum going. You may also want to swap out the handlebars for a lower set or take out a spacer underneath the handlebars to give yourself more room to lean forward.

Biker riding on bicycle in mountains at sunset


Source: Oleksiy Rezin/Shutterstock.com

You should also keep your core engaged, your back straight and your shoulders open to maintain good posture on the trail. It also allows more oxygen to reach the lungs.

3. Connect to Your Fellow Riders

Mountain biking is more fun in a group, but you won’t be able to communicate with your fellow riders when the going gets tough. Your friends are there to guide you and give you tips as you learn the ins and outs of riding. Use a bike helmet with Bluetooth to keep the conversation going on the trail. Your companions will give you the information you need to navigate to your destination and make sure you are using the right technique.

Use a Bike Helmet with Bluetooth to Stay Connected

4. Mind Over Matter

You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to getting through a long ride. Focusing on the pain and intensity will only make you want to stop, so try to focus on your fellow riders and the passing scenery instead. Talking to your companions while you ride will help you stay motivated. You might also have trouble finding a place to stop and rest in steep areas, so it’s best to power through until you find a safe place to catch your breath.

Cyclists ride on the bike path in the city Park


Source: Licvin/Shutterstock.com

5. Give Yourself a Rest

Your body can only take so much punishment before it starts to give out, so give yourself at least one rest day each week to give your muscles a chance to recover. That doesn’t mean you have to be a couch potato on your days off. Keep the blood flowing to your muscles to speed up the recovery process by going for a short ride on a level surface or taking a walk.