How to Train for Mountain Biking | Expert’s Killer Tips on Training MTB


Mountain bikers start to think about next season and not just the next ride. It is easy to become couch-locked in bad weather by watching GoPro footage from last season and racing highlights on YouTube. But now is the best time to prepare to ride when it picks up. We’ve covered fitness topics on Singletracks for years, and we’re going to summarize the greatest takeaways from previous posts and consolidate them here. In the coming weeks, you’ll find more fitness topics. So, let’s discuss how to train for mountain biking.

How to train for mountain biking

Mountain biking is a tough and risky one. There are many people who don’t train properly before riding MTB. They don’t know mountain biking is dangerous. But if you train for mountain biking properly then it will seem to you very easy. Here are the expert’s tips.

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Strength training 

Mountain bike fitness is a lot about strength train for mountain biking. Strength training can help you become stronger on the bike and more resilient. Increased bone density is one of the greatest benefits of strength train for mountain biking. Although the fear of breaking bones may not be the most motivating reason to exercise, the rewards are definitely worth it. The motivational thing is MTB burns calories. You don’t believe right. Check out our exclusive guide on how many calories burned mountain biking.

Wolff’s law indicates that form follows function, but in less confusing terms and applied to the situation, the bone structure will follow bone function. The body will increase the density and amount of bone tissue when bones are exposed to stress, such as weight lifting or performing pull-ups or pushups. Mountain biking is not just about your legs. When you’re riding down dangerous descents, your chest, shoulders, and back muscles are crucial. The core muscles play a vital role in cornering, pumping, stabilizing, and maintaining your position on the bicycle.

Look further ahead 

You can also increase your ability to see ahead and scan the trail to gain speed. This is something we all know, but don’t do it often enough. You can schedule some MTB technical skills rides and include drills that allow you to focus on going further down the track. You can use your peripheral vision to spot obstacles close by, then you can use your central image for assessing what is further ahead.

Accelerate in big gears 

To go fast off-road, it is important to produce a lot of force and overcome high amounts of torque. This is a very different experience from road riding. Mountain bikers can have power off-road. Low cadence And High pressure When racing or riding hard. However, most pedaling on the road will be at a higher tempo (climbing instead of coasting in the bunch). MT Bers face unique challenges, so it is important to train properly for muscle recruitment. This can be done on road rides or by scheduling specific MTB rides.

Variegate your workouts 

Two reasons are why it is important to have plenty of training sessions. Motivation and training stress You can always target an ability in more ways than one, so make sure you have various workouts for every type of training session. For example, VO2Max can be trained with longer intervals or by using microburst workouts. Keep your plan exciting and fresh by changing things week to week.


Some people love it while others enjoy it. However, every mountain biker must climb at least one point. Although climbing ability is closely related to endurance, it also has technical aspects. We don’t like to be the ones waiting at the summit. In this podcast from June of 2018, we shared our tips for better climbing. To improve your mountain bike’s climbing ability, you can make a few modifications. You can make the handlebars lower in height or remove a spacer under them to shift your weight forward. This will allow you to put more weight on the front of the bike. To get better at mountain biking click here.

Lower intensity, longer duration It is more sustainable to increase training volume than the average intensity to improve long-term fitness. How can you increase your volume? Less intense time. Low-intensity riding allows you to ride longer and is less stressful, promoting consistent and sustainable training. You can reduce the intensity of long rides by adding a little more duration.

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Take more turns 

Cornering better is possible with “free speed.” You can get faster with less effort than you put in, and cornering is definitely an area where you can make the most of this. You can practice your line choice, exit speed, and body position on various turns and berms that will help you dial in your technique. You’ll find yourself more confident and faster, which will help you make up a lot of time lost throughout a race.

Block periodization is a good option

Block periodization is the process of developing one particular ability through a series of sessions that are blocked together to create more stress. Then, you can keep those gains. This could be 5 interval sessions during the first week of the 4-week block and 1 maintenance session per week for the next 3 weeks. This contrasts with a linear organization where you would train two interval sessions per week every 4 weeks. You may see a significant improvement in your MTB fitness. This is often a critical component of race performance.

Create a race-like circuit 

When the racing day arrives, you can feel more confident by creating a loop at your local mountain biking spot with a full collection of features similar to what you would find in a race. You will need to include a few corners, berms, and a steep climb. To prepare for off-road racing, you can ride loops at a race pace.

Spend more time on the MTB 

Are you a regular mountain biker? There are many ways to do this if you don’t know-how. It simply means that the training characteristics can change according to the “period” or time. Training mode is a key factor in the success of endurance athletes. The type of activity. MTBers should spend more time on their MTB and off-road as they get closer to competition. This will allow them to dedicate more time to training for specific activities and less time for non-specific.

Jump skills are a must-have skill

MTB XC racing has become more technical every year. Jumps are becoming more popular. It is important to practice your skill in a training environment to jump safely and with speed. If you are new to jumping, start small and learn the right technique before moving to more difficult features. Tabletop jumps are a great way to get started before you move onto doubles. Where there is a gap between takeoff and landing. You might also want to ride with someone else for this type of training, both in safety and encouragement.

Try to ride on the road

This might seem strange in a post geared towards mountain bikers. But, bear with me… The road will almost always provide a better platform for training. You can perform an effort without having to dodge trees, freewheel over roots, or slow down to a berm. Tarmac is the ideal setting to achieve specific intensity goals when you’re looking for interval training. You must balance your time on the trails (specific training) and road riding (less specific activity), but there is a place for both.

Train heavy, race light 

One tactic that I have seen top XC racers employ is to ride a heavier bike than they race on. This is obviously a luxury. However, even if you don’t have two cycles, there are still ways to get around it. You will feel more agile, faster, and overall have a better mental experience when you hop on your race-ready set on the day. You’ll climb faster and be able to maneuver the bike more easily. You can do this by simply using heavier wheels for your race bike (greater rotating weight is the best way to increase resistance) or using heavier tires with greater rolling resistance.

MTB recovery riding on tarmac 

Because of the consistency in road surface and gradients, recovery rides are often more enjoyable on the road. However, you don’t need to ride your road bike. You can get more riding time on your MTB by taking it out on the streets for an hour on a recovery ride. This allows you to get used to pedaling in exactly the same position as you would race in, optimizing your muscles and conditioning to your MTB’s geometry. Before you race, make sure that all the gears and brakes are working properly.

Your rides should be labeled

I have found a way to be more focused and disciplined in my training. A simple labeling system. It involves labeling one day. “Training” Or “Recovery.” If a day is marked “training,” it means that the activities that I do on that day must be challenging enough to trigger an adaptive response. It could be a long ride with a challenge. Or it could be an intense session that causes fatigue. You’re encouraged and allowed to be tired on this day. The flip side is that if a day can be called “recovery,” then it is clear: I do my best to ensure my recovery is of the highest quality, and I should not try to inducing stress to gain fitness. Being very clear before each workout and asking the question about today’s title make me very clear about what I’m doing. You might find yourself in a gray area of mediocre training if you cannot assign a label to a ride or day.

You can run in the off-season

Running, such as the plyometric exercise mentioned above, can help build the strength of your fast-twitch muscles. It can be more than just that, however. Running can fill in the strength gaps left by cycling. These is the glutes, hamstrings. It is best to add it conservatively.

Dropper seat posts are great for training

This tip is more of an equipment tip but also relates to skills training. Dropper seat posts are being used by more top racers in training and racing. This trend will only continue. These are especially helpful when you’re doing track reconnaissance. This allows you to ride technical sections and steeper sections with more confidence. Once you feel confident with the track, you can decide whether to use dropper posts or standard seat posts.

Sprints are an option in your training

Sprinting is something that I, and many other XC racers, forget about or don’t do enough in train for mountain biking. However, it’s to our advantage not to train this skill regularly. MTB XC racing is described as a series of sprints out of corners. It’s a big advantage to generate a lot of power at a low starting speed. Maximal sprints are a good idea for both your road and MTB. Try out a high cadence or low cadence accelerations. It will improve your maximum power and provide excellent training for your muscles to overcome high torque levels. This is a very special thing for off-road racing and riding.

Incorporate plyometrics 

Cross-country racing is getting shorter and more exciting every year… This requires different skills than in years past. How can we adapt to these changes? To increase your speed, twitch muscle development, add explosive jumping and hopping into your training. It’s a great way to add variety to your workout.

Periodize high intensity 

Periodization simply refers to changing the characteristics of your training based on the time of the year. You can prepare for the XC season by adjusting the intensity and duration of your sessions regularly. You can think of it as a funnel. The further you are from your goal, the more specific your training will be. Focus more on your peripheral fitness and work up to the peak. You can start with shorter, more intense MTB intervals and then progress to shorter repetitions of greater intensity. You might find that you can go from 8-minute intervals to 2-minute work bouts as you move closer to the season.

Get started 

A slipped pedal can cause a poor start to an MTB XC race. I’m sure I’ve been there. Even World Cup front row pro’s missed their pedal, and it can make a huge difference in where you enter singletrack. Practice your starts in the build-up to the season. Start stationary, clipping into, and sprinting. This will improve your muscle memory and reaction time so that you can quickly know where to place your foot when racing is around.

Train different terrain 

As with the first tip about creating a loop that will make you feel more confident during race day, ensuring your ride on many different surfaces is important. After spending a year racing across Europe, I realized this, and I am now incorporating it into my mountain biking training. You will be able to ride in all conditions, including mud, sand, and gravel. This will not only improve your performance but also increase your competitive edge. It can be very stressful to figure out how to conquer alien surfaces from scratch the day before a race.


Now, it’s time for you to put this into practice and start riding your mountain bike. While train for mountain biking, you might find it difficult to implement everything at once. Try breaking it down into smaller pieces. You can practice your skills on a corner or descent that is easy to find. Once you are comfortable, you can move on to the next step.

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