A List of Bike Workouts to Prepare Yourself For Mountain Biking

Many of us have had or currently have a mountain bike. In fact, pretty much everyone who can ride a bike probably already has ridden a mountain bike before.

That’s how popular those things are, and for good reason too. They are strong, sturdy, and stable, but they are also relatively fast, provide a smooth ride, and pretty versatile and well-suited for many various environments.

Certainly, they are not anything like a road bike where you can really only ride it on a flat, smooth surface. Try taking a road bike even onto grass or gravel and you’ll soon see why that was a bad idea.

But fortunately you won’t have that problem with a mountain bike. You do give up some speed, but considering that you can at least ride on multiple surfaces that a road bike couldn’t handle I think that’s more than a fair trade if you are looking for versatility and flexibility.

But as with all things bike-related you’ll still have to be able to work your way up to a decent level of shape to get any sort of ride out of the thing that isn’t either hilariously slow or simply too short to actually enjoy…or both even.

So with further ado let’s present them.

Mountain biking

Simple Hill Routine

‘Hill’ training has long been hailed as one of the most effective types of training for biking, and really it can be applied to running as well. But for bikers in particular hill training is strongly recommended, and hill training is especially important for mountain bikers because of the extra level of realism involved.

See, when you’re on a mountain bike it would make sense that eventually you would ride on a mountain right?

And where’s there’s mountains there’s inclines and declines. Sometimes very steep inclines and/or declines.

So if you just simply train on flat ground with no incline or decline training at all…you are tremendously under preparing yourself for the real deal.

And that’s why we recommend the following easy-to-follow program.

  • Begin with a 10:00 minute warm-up.
  • Find a hill that you know you can pedal up for at least 30 seconds.
  • Stand up and out of the saddle and accelerate up the hill as hard as you can for 0:30 seconds.
  • Now ride back down or coast back down at your leisure.
  • Sit down in the seat/saddle this time and again accelerate up the hill with as much intensity and effort as possible for the next 0:30 seconds.
  • And, once again, go back down the hill at your desired pace.
  • Wash, rinse, and repeat this ‘double-cycle’ of standing up first and then seated for five times.
  • Now recover for 10:00 minutes.
  • Repeat another ‘set’ of five seated/standing uphill sprints.
  • Cool-down for 10:00 minutes.

Congratulations on getting your first hill training program out of the way.

Before we head off to the next workout though, I just want to mention really quickly that this workout is obviously not just simply limited to two sets…you can do as many as you’d like! And by all means, you should!

Very Basic and Simple Tabata Program for Bikers

mountain bike 02

Alright, so this next one is basically a ‘Biker’s Tabata 101’.

If you don’t know what a Tabata Interval is it’s basically just a specific type of interval training developed by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata. There’s obviously more to it, but the science and history behind this is largely outside of the scope of this article here. So let’s get back on topic.

Here’s what this program looks like.

  • Start with a 10:00 minute warm-up.
  • Sprint as hard as possible for 0:20 seconds.
  • Now recover for 0:10 seconds.
  • That is considered one ‘set’…continue on until you reach a total of six to eight sets.
  • Cool-down for 10:00 minutes.

Simple right?

And that’s the real beauty of Tabata training. It’s meant to be so simple that you basically can’t screw it up.

Now keep in mind that Tabata training was designed expressly for the purpose of being able to increase the intensity your entire body can sustain for a 60-minute period.

And 60 minutes is also roughly the same time it should take to finish a 40K time-trial. So, essentially, when you do this type of training you are killing two birds with one stone.

You are upping the overall ‘power levels’ of your body and you are helping prepare yourself for a better 40K!

In fact, an unspoken and unwritten understanding amongst many cyclists is that ‘breaking’ a time of 1 hour/60 minutes for your 40K is considered the first step to being objectively ‘good’.

Think outside the box right?

Long Interval Training

So you may have noticed, by now, that the above two programs had pretty short intervals built into them.

And you may have also thought to yourself “hey what if I want more?”…well the good news is that you are getting more.

Right now!

  • Start with a 10:00 minute warm-up.
  • Ride as hard as you can for 3:00 minutes.
  • Rest/cruise along for 2:00 minutes.
  • That counts as one ‘set’, and now you will repeat this set twice more for a total of three sets.
  • End your workout with a 10:00 minute warm-up.

This last one here can be thought of as a ‘mid-distance’ training regime. It’s kind of like comparing a 400m, 800m, or 1km run to a 50m dash.

The idea behind ‘mid-distance’ stuff is that you are either performing at the very high end of what can be considered aerobic training or that you are working at just past the threshold into anaerobic levels.

Regardless, of how you personally measure it or even how the ‘objective’ standards are for this type of training. It should go without saying that you are certainly going to get a more ‘endurance-oriented’ workout than with the other two.

So just be sure to remember that for days when you realize that you’ve done short intervals for a while now, but you also don’t want to just ride aimlessly.

OK…now off you go!

Good luck and have fun!

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