How to train in the gym for Mountain Biking

A mate messaged me saying he's struggling for
motivation to ride in crap weather, so he's going to join the gym
and do I have any pointers.

Well I sure do.

While, as you may know, I'm a big advocate of riding
in any and ALL conditions...the winter can be a good
time to either join the gym, or increase your gym hours.

Well, here's some simple tips to follow when you
are putting together a programme for yourself :

1. Have a plan

Make sure you have a set-by-set plan with what
exercises you are doing, how many reps and
sets and how much rest etc. You don't want to
go in the gym wandering aimlessly. You need
a plan that's written down.

2. Work every muscle.

When you write your plan, check it works every muscle
over the week.

For every pressing exercise is there a pull?

For every quad exercise is there a hamstring/glute exercise?

For every upper body exercise is there a leg exercise?

A big mistake a lot of people make
is not having a balanced plan. Make sure
all your muscles are getting worked evenly

3. Technique before weight

When you hit the gym the urge is to lift as heavy
weight as you can manage. This is good...but not
if it's at the expense of technique. Your technique
needs to be good on every exercise, with full
range of motion. If you are struggling to keep
technique or your technique is faltering...then consider
going one lighter weight

4. Work each leg and arm separately

A unilateral exercise is one that works one
limb separate from the other.

A regular squat would be bi-lateral. You are working
both legs at the same time, and both are sharing
the same load.

A step up (for example) is unilateral. You work one leg,
and then the other.

Try to make a percentage of your plan unilateral exercises
and you'll find you can iron out any imbalances
between weaker legs and arms (that you will probably
have from riding)

If all your exercises are bilateral then your stronger arm
or leg will probably do more of the work than the weaker

5. Lift heavy

When your technique is nailed and you have been training for
a few weeks/months then you want to be lifting heavy and
focusing on building strength for the majority of your plan.

This will give you the biggest benefits for the bike as you
will be building useable strength.

These are only scratching the surface but if you do decide
to hit the gym (and I really recommend you do) then these
tips will help

Matt Mooney