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November 22, 2020

How Working With A Strength Coach In The Offseason Can Enhance Your MTB Riding

You had an awesome summer on the trails, learned skills, and had an amazing extended fall riding season! And now.. it’s winter. Worried about your on-the-bike fitness levels decreasing in the offseason? What if you could head into next spring stronger and more ready than ever instead? This is where working with a strength coach through the offseason comes into play. 

Your coach can help you gain confidence on the bike and increase your ability to learn new skills needed to shred the trails next season! As you know, mountain biking requires a lot more than just endurance. Mountain biking requires: 

  • Strength to climb and power over obstacles
  • Strength to overcome resistance and absorb force in descending, jumping, and turning
  • Strength to maintain body position for more effective pedaling and bike handling

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Strength training also increases rider durability when we crash or spend long days on the trails, through creating and maintaining stronger bones, tendons, and muscle tissues. 

What a coach can do for YOU this offseason:  

  • Provide a training plan that prioritizes your current fitness needs
  • Teach you proper form and movement quality to increase function in movement
  • Progress a plan that enhances your ability to generate force and overcome resistance

MTB Training at MTN LAB Teton Valley

Strength training supports new motor pattern development, pedaling performance, and injury prevention on the bike. Strength training also helps prevent nagging aches and pains caused by overused patterns and strength imbalances. 

Workouts don’t have to be complicated or time consuming or even need a bunch of fancy equipment. A training plan that makes the biggest difference is the most consistent one. Body weight movement or training with dumbbells is still resistance that can improve your overall strength. 

Over the years, assessing hundreds of athletes and developing training plans, we have identified the most important strength factors that enhance the MTB experience. 

Coach Lyons at MTB LAB coaching Dugan Merrill MTB Training Offseason

Most Common Strength Priorities For MTB  

Core strength: Contributes to solid body position and bike handling

When you think of ‘core,’ think of a pillar from shoulders down to hips. Everything in between, both back and front, is our core. Our core connects upper and lower limbs and facilitates transfer of power driven from pedaling by sustaining stability. The more effective we are at holding solid body position on the bike, the more effective our pedaling and power will be. These three exercises are a starting point to building a stronger core for biking:




Upper Body Strength: Contributes to grip strength and bike handling

Upper body strength and stability starts at the scapula (shoulder blades). Did you know there are 17 muscles that connect to the scapula? That’s right.. So strengthening those muscles around the scapula will largely contribute to more stability and durability to perform skills, maneuver over obstacles, improve your grip for downhill riding, and protect the shoulder joint in the event of a crash. These three exercises will be a starting point in developing strength in upper back and shoulders: 




Lower Body Strength: Contributes to force production and pedal efficiency 

Leg strength is vital for pedaling efficiency, tackling steep terrain, landing drops/jumps, and taking on those longer rides! Improving leg strength starts with improving the ability to produce force and overcome resistance. Most riders will lose strength in their lower back and glutes, contributing to a strength imbalance that degrades body position and pedal efficiency. The best way to improve fitness on the bike is to improve economy and strength. 

These three exercises are starting points to developing leg strength: 




Looking for a personalized training plan that will help you head into next spring stronger than ever? We offer onsite and remote coaching programs for individuals of all levels. Click here to schedule a free call with a coach and talk about your needs and goals! Our doors are always open.

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