With spring in full swing and summer right around the corner, a lot of us are starting to hit the trail more and the gym less. Unfortunately, this approach usually leads to losses in strength and power as the riding season wears on. This means that we have to strike a balance between what we love (riding) and what allows us to do it at the level we want (training).
The best way to do this is to start using short, super efficient routines. This will help you be consistent with your training, even though you’re riding more. James Wilson, strength coach for the Yeti/Fox Racing Shox World Cup Team, is back to show us a great four exercise circuit using the TRX Suspension Trainer and a kettlebell. This workout will help you pedal harder, corner better and climb faster where it counts most- on the trail!
TRX Lunge: This is one of the best exercises around when it comes to building the specific core and leg strength you need for standing pedaling. Using the TRX to suspend the rear foot is even better than using a bench or chair since you can't rely on it for balance, forcing you to learn how to balance and drive with the lead leg. This is the exact same skill you need on the bike since your trail leg is on a pedal, but you don't want to rely on it for balance since that will interfere with the power from the lead leg. When you're ready to progress this exercise, add a kettlebell for increased load.
Kettlebell Clean to Side Press: This one movement will train the hip explosiveness you need for sprints and bunny hops, the lateral core and hip strength you need for cornering and the shoulder stability you need to muscle your bike around on the trail.
TRX Single Arm Row: This is one of James’ favorite rowing movements since it is single sided and forces the core to create the platform for movement. While you don't want to rely on "rowing" the front end of your bike up (that actually comes from the hips), this exercise will build the upper back and core strength you need in case you do need to "He-Man" your bike up a ledge.
TRX Standing Roll Out: A lot of riders don't realize that on steep, seated climbs you use your lats to "lock down" the front end of the bike and keep it from popping up. This exercise builds the lat strength you need, plus it also ties that lat strength into maintaining a strong, stable core, which makes it extremely specific for that task.
Perform six to eight reps of each exercise, repeating for three to four rounds. You can also turn it into a cardio circuit by seeing how many rounds you can do in 10 minutes, trying to beat your record next time to do the workout. Finding ways to fit training into your busy spring and summer schedule is the only way to make sure you are still riding strong at the end of the season.
James Wilson is the owner of MTB Strength Training Systems, the world’s only company dedicated to developing strength and conditioning programs for the unique demands of mountain biking. James owns a training facility in Grand Junction, Colorado and is the strength coach for the Yeti/Fox Racing Shox World Cup Team. Visit his website to sign up for the free No Gym, No Problem Bodyweight Workout.